Paris terror attacks: death toll rises to 127, with 200 injured
Police say ‘accomplices’ could be on loose; Vatican condemns ‘mad terrorist violence’
At least 127 people have been killed and an estimated 200 injured following six separate but simultaneous terrorist attacks in central Paris on Friday night.
France is in a state of emergency on Saturday after the attacks after the co-ordinated shootings and bombings.
Police say ‘accomplices’ of the attackers could still be on loose.
Summary of what we know:
At least 127 people are feared dead, according to news agency AFP
Eight attackers also died, police say, seven of them by detonating suicide belts
Police are searching for accomplices
Two hundred people were injured, 80 of them seriously
Shootings and explosions were reported in six locations across the city
Majority of victims died after a mass shooting inside the Bataclan concert venue
The six attacks are understood to have taken place at the Stade de France in northern Paris, a the Bataclan concert venue in the in the city’s 11th district, and at incidents on Rue de Charonne, Boulevard Voltaire, Rue de la Fontaine Au Roi and Rue Alibert.
The incidents included a siege at the concert hall, in which city officials said at least 100 people died, and suicide bomb outside the Stade de France during a football match attended by president Francois Hollande.
Gunmen also stormed the packed concert hall, the Bataclan, where hundreds of concert-goers were attending an Eagles of Death Metal gig. The other attacks targetted people socialising in the centre of the French capital.
Scores were taken hostage until security forces entered the building at about midnight and killed two of the assailants.
Witnesses spoke of “carnage” and “scenes of apocalypse” caused by grenade attacks inside the Bataclan, at 50 boulevard Voltaire in the 11th district. A number said several gunmen entered the back of the hall and began shooting.
One of them shouted: “This is for Syria.” Members of the audience threw themselves to the floor and into the orchestra pit with others escaping. The gunmen reportedly opened fired on those in the orchestra pit.
It was the worst terrorist attack in the European Union since the 2004 Madrid bombings.
Mr Hollande said it was an “unprecedented” series of “terrorist attacks” and that several dozen people were dead.
“A state of emergency will be declared,” he said. “The second measure will be the closure of national borders.”
Mr Hollande was earlier at the France v Germany game at the Stade de France and had been taken to the interior ministry for a crisis meeting with members of his cabinet. Traffic has been banned in some areas of the city and people have been advised to stay in their home. The army has been mobilised.
He later visited a security command centre where he said “the terrorists who were not far from here(the Bataclan) were killed.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the attacks as the “ blackest of black days for Paris, for France, for its citizens, and through them for the citizens of the free world.”
U2 has cancelled a concertscheduled for Paris on Saturday night. The band said it would reschedule the concert at a more appropriate date.
US president Barack Obama said the attacks were an “outrageous attempt” to terrorise innocent people. These were not just attacks on Paris but on all of humanity, he said.
He declined to speculate as to who was responsible for the incidents. US security officials believe the attacks were likely co-ordinated.
Vatican on Saturday condemned the killings in Paris as “mad terrorist violence” and called for a decisive response to counter the spread of “homicidal hatred. We condemn (it) in the most radical way together with the pope and all those who love peace,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.
At least three people were killed in what were believed to have been grenade attacks outside the Stade de France. At least 10 were seriously wounded. The explosions could be clearly heard inside the stadium, from which tens of thousands were slowly evacuated.
A dismembered body found on the scene was believed to be that of a suicide bomber.
Another shooting attack occurred outside the Petit Cambodge restaurant in the rue Albert in the 10th district, a street that is particularly busy on weekend evenings. Eye witnesses reported seeing bodies on the pavement covered with blankets.
Dozens of people tried to hide behind cars, in doorways and in the courtyards of buildings. Many took refuge in cafes, which pulled down their metal curtains. Others ran in panic towards the Place de la Republique.
Jean-Pierre, a witness in the rue de Charonne in the 10th district, said he saw gunmen picking off diners seated at restaurant tables. “It was horrible, horrible, horrible,” he told BFM television, choking back emotion.
Another witness said he heard gunshots as he was walking on a street in the 10th district of Paris close to Place de La Republique. When he arrived outside a restaurant he saw bodies on the ground. “I saw three bodies being put into body bags,” said Fabien Baron, a student.
Eyewitness Ben Grant said he was in a bar with his wife when the gunshots were fired and he had seen six or seven bodies on the ground.
He told the BBC: “I was told people in cars had opened fire on the bar. “There are lots of dead people. It’s pretty horrific to be honest.
“I was at the back of the bar. I couldn’t see anything. “I heard gunshots. People dropped to the ground. We put a table over our heads to protect us. “We were held up in the bar because there was a pile of bodies in front of us.”
Europe 1 Radio said another shooting was taking at Les Halles shopping mall.
President Michael D Higgins said he was shocked to learn of and view the images of “the terrible events unfolding in Paris” on Friday night.
“On behalf of the Irish people and on my own behalf I offer deepest sympathy through President Hollande to the people of France on this dreadful loss of life and appalling injuries,” he said in a statement. “All of our thoughts are with the people of France as events unfold.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs said the embassy in Paris and department in Dublin were actively monitoring the unfolding situation in Paris.
“Those who wish to register concern can do so at 01 408 2000,” it said.
The scene of the hostage situation, the Bataclan, is only a few hundred metres away from the former Charlie Hebdo magazine office were 12 people killed last January 7th.
In June, France launched a terrorism investigation after police found a decapitated body in a gas factory in the south-eastern city of Lyon. And two months later three Americans and one Briton were awarded medals for bravery after they overpowered a heavily armed gunman on a train in France.
Additional reporting: Agencies