- At least 120 killed in multiple attacks in Paris
- All attackers believed dead; reports say there were 8 of them
- Paris prosecutor says authorities investigating six attack sites
A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed at least 120 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since the Second World War. President François Hollande condemned it as terrorism and pledged that France would stand firm against its foes.
More than 200 were injured in at least six separate attacks around the capital Friday. The worst carnage was at a concert hall hosting an American rock band where scores of people were held hostage and attackers ended the standoff by detonating explosive belts. Police who stormed the building encountered a bloody scene of horror inside.
French police said they believe all of the attackers involved in the shootings and bombings are dead. The Associated Press reported that eight militants had been killed, seven of them in suicide bombings.
The Paris prosecutor's office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre told The Associated Press that the eighth attacker was killed by security forces at the concert hall. She could not exclude the possibility that some attackers might still be at large. Authorities are searching for possible accomplices.
The attack unfolded with two suicide bombings and an explosion outside the national stadium during a soccer match between the French and German national teams. Within minutes, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot, another group of attackers sprayed cafés outside the concert hall with machine gunfire, then stormed inside and opened fire on the panicked audience. As police closed in, they detonated explosive belts, killing themselves.
One witness told Radio France that the attackers came into the venue, where 1,500 people were attending a rock concert, and started shooting.
"They shot right into the crowd while shouting 'Allah Akbar' — with shotguns, I think … It was hell," one witness at Bataclan told Radio France, according to AFP.
In addition to the deaths at the concert hall, dozens of people were killed at the other attack sites.
"This is a terrible ordeal that, again, assails us," Hollande said. "We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are."
Paris prosecutor François Molins said the investigation into the attacks will try to determine what happened at six sites around the city, including the Bataclan, where anywhere from 87 to 112 people were killed, according to various reports.
The other attack sites were:
- The Stade de France in Saint-Denis north of Paris, where, French media reported, four people were killed in two suicide attacks and an explosion, including three attackers.
- La Belle Equipe bar, 92 rue de Charonne Blvd. in the 11th arrondissement, where 18 people died.
- Le Carillon restaurant, 18 Alibert St., and Le Petit Cambodge, 20 Alibert St., in the 10th arrondissement, where 14 died in total.
- Voltaire Blvd., where one person was killed.
- De la Fontaine au Roi St., where five deaths were reported.
'It's a horror'
According to reports, Hollande was at the soccer game and was evacuated from the stadium soon after reports of the attacks emerged.
"We will lead the fight. It will be ruthless," Hollande said outside the concert hall shortly after security forces had stormed the building, ending the siege.
"It was carnage," Marc Coupris told the Guardian newspaper after he was freed from the hostage-taking. "It looked like a battlefield, there was blood everywhere, there were bodies everywhere."
Terrifying: Paris gunmen firing at French civilians. Just now. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParisAttacks?src=hash">#ParisAttacks</a> <a href="https://t.co/sTWhi3Pwvc">pic.twitter.com/sTWhi3Pwvc</a>—@cjwerleman
Gunfire and explosions had been heard outside the concert venue shortly before the police assault ended.
"It was horrible, there were so many corpses, I just can't talk about it," another man told the Guardian as he left the Bataclan venue.
A woman who was at a bar near Bataclan said people ran into the bar, fleeing the initial shooting. "They were panicked, wounded, screaming, blood was running all over them. People were having panic attacks; it was horrific."
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The attacks also prompted Hollande to declare a state of emergency, and he announced that he was closing the country's borders, although officials later said they were just re-imposing border checks that had been removed after Europe created its free-travel zone in the 1980s. France's foreign ministry said airports in that country would remain open and said train travel will continue.
Hollande also cancelled his trip to the G20 summit in Turkey, which begins Sunday.
Hollande announced he had deployed military around Paris.
"It's a horror," Hollande earlier said in a televised statement.
He said the country needs to stand in solidarity and remain calm despite the attacks.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that so far, there was no information that any Canadians were victims of the attacks.
"These terrorist attacks are deeply worrying and, obviously, unsettling to people around the world," Trudeau said before leaving for the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.
"We have offered all of our help and support to the government of France."
Several police agencies investigating
An Associated Press reporter who was in the stadium Friday night heard two explosions loud enough to penetrate the sounds of cheering fans. Sirens were immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead.
AFP reported that French authorities are investigating the attacks in connection with a terrorist plot. Three different security forces will be involved in the investigation, including the anti-terror unit of the Paris division of the French national police.
The attack comes as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks.
Emilioi Macchio, from Ravenna, Italy, was at the Carillon bar near the restaurant that was targeted, having a beer on the sidewalk when the shooting started. He said he didn't see any gunmen or victims, but hid behind a corner then ran away.
"It sounded like fireworks," he said.
U.S. President Barack Obama described the incident as "outrageous attacks" on "our oldest ally."
"Obviously, those of us here in the United States know what it's like. We have gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves.
"And whenever these kinds of attacks happened, we've always been able to count on the French people to stand with us. They have been an extraordinary counter-terrorism partner. And we intend to be there with them in that same fashion."
With files from the Associated Press, Reuters