ISIS claims responsibility for terror attacks in Paris
UPDATE: The death toll is at 129 people as of 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
PARIS (November 14, 2015) — ISIS claimed responsibility for a series of attacks that targeted six locations in Paris with gunfire and explosions, killing 128 people in one of the nation’s deadliest massacres.
In an online statement distributed by supporters, the terror group said eight militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked precisely selected targets in the French capital.
In addition to the fatalities, 180 others were injured, according to the Paris Police Prefecture. More than half of the injured are in critical condition.
Gunmen hit Friday night when bars and restaurants were bustling with residents and tourists.
Excited weekend chatter turned into panicked screams as gunfire erupted at various sites.
One of the targets was near a soccer match as France played world champion Germany. Terrified fans huddled together and streamed onto the field after the blasts . Others hugged.
At the Bataclan, a concert hall where most of the fatalities occurred, fans were listening to American rock band Eagles of Death Metal when the shots rang out.
“People yelled, screamed,” said Julien Pearce, who was there. “It lasted for 10 minutes. Ten horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head.”
Hollande blames ISIS
President Francois Hollande vowed to hunt down the terrorists, and blamed the attack on ISIS, calling it “an act of war” by the militants.. He said it was planned from the outside — “with inside complicity.”
“When the terrorists are capable of doing such acts, they must know that they will face a France very determined,” he said.
He declared three days of national mourning.
Eight terrorists are dead following the attacks on six locations in Paris and nearby areas, prosecutor’s spokeswoman Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre said.
The prosecutor’s office said it cannot confirm whether all terrorists have been killed because it has not determined the total number of attackers.
Of the eight, seven died in suicide bombings, officials said.
The attackers targeted a concert hall, a stadium, restaurants and bars.
Most of the deaths were inside the Bataclan concert hall, where a witness said gunmen stormed in firing rifles and shouting “Allah akbar.” At least 80 people died in that attack.
Earlier, information from the Interior Ministry put the death toll at the concert hall at 112 people.
Later, the Paris Prosecutor said the number of dead was “around 80.” The death toll is expected to rise.
“We lay down on the floor not to get hurt. It was a huge panic,” Pearce said. “The terrorists shot at us for 10 to 15 minutes. It was a bloodbath.”
The gunmen seized hostages before French police stormed in and rescued dozens of people.
Four attackers were killed at the concert hall, including three who were wearing explosives belts, police spokesman Michel Cadot told France Info radio.
Michael Dorio, brother of Eagles of Death Metal drummer Julian Dorio, said he spoke to the musician after the attack.
Dorio said when his brother and his bandmates heard the gunshots, they stopped playing, took off backstage and exited.
Bars and restaurants
Charlotte Brehaut and a friend were dining at a Cambodian restaurant in Paris, she said.
“All of a sudden, we heard huge gunshots and glass coming through the windows,” she said. “We ducked with the other diners.”
More people were killed at the Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, authorities said.
In addition to the Cambodian restaurant, others were killed in the 10th district of Paris. More people were killed on Avenue de la Republique, also in the 10th district of the French capital.
Others were killed outside La Belle Epuipe bar in the 11th district.
Some explosions hit near the Stade de France outside Paris, home of the national sports teams. Four people died in those attacks, authorities said.
One of the blasts appears to be a suicide bombing, a Western intelligence source told CNN.
Three suicide bombers died in the blasts. A dismembered body consistent with the aftermath of an explosion from that type of device was found at the scene, authorities said.
President Barack Obama spoke to Hollande and offered him support and condolences. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are closely monitoring the situation, but there is no credible or specific threat in the United States, a U.S. government official said.
“The two leaders pledged to work together, and with nations around the world, to defeat the scourge of terrorism,” the White House said in a statement.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the attackers hate freedom, and vowed her nation will help lead the fight against terrorists.
In January, two gunmen attacked the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 and wounding 11.
Two attackers, who were brothers, said they wanted to punish the magazine for the publication of cartoons that they believed mocked the Prophet Mohammed. Two days later, the brothers were shot to death in a standoff with police in Dammartin-en-Goele.
Their associate attacked a Jewish grocery store in Paris, taking more than a dozen people hostage and killing four. Police stormed the kosher market and killed him.
Hollande declared a state of emergency following the attack Friday and said border security has been ramped up.
Although the country has been wounded, “France always rises up again,” he said Saturday in the wake of the attacks.