Saturday, November 14, 2015

A night of terror on the streets of Paris

France is in mourning after terrorists brought death to the streets of Paris.

French President François Hollande declared a national state of emergency and tightened borders after at least 128 people were killed in a night of gun and bomb attacks in the capital which has not only shocked France but much of the Western world.

The attacks came some 10 months after the so-called Charlie Hebdo attacks and the Île-de-France attacks which left 17 dead. France, and Paris in particular, was already in high alert. However it is unclear whether there was a failure in intelligence or if the terrorists managed to successfully fly below the radar undetected.

Black Friday

Friday the 13th, also known as Black Friday, is often considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. But for Paris and France Friday November 13th proved to be extremely black.

The series of mass shootings and suicide bombings began at 21:16 CET. Three separate explosions and six mass shootings occurred, including bombings near the Stade de France in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis.

The deadliest attack was at the Bataclan theatre where attackers took hostages and engaged in a stand-off with police.

Concert goers who had been out to enjoy the US rock group Eagles of Death Metal instead became victims as two gunmen opened fire indiscriminately on the crowds.

Julien Pearce, a radio reporter who witnessed the attack first hand, told CNN that the black clad gunmen said nothing as they open fired in Bataclan theatre for at least 10 minutes. "It was a bloodbath," he told the news outlet.

There was a three hour stand-off during which some inside the theatre posted desperate messages on social media. Some said they were not being treated as hostages and that the gunmen were killing them one by one and called on police to launch a rescue bid. Some meanwhile managed to escape from the rear of the building, several dragging the injured or dying away from the scene [Warning Graphic Footage: YouTube]

The siege eventually ended at 00:58 CET on the 14th November 2015 when armed police launched an assault on the building. At the end of the assault two terrorists were dead, after apparently detonating suicide belts, and some 100 concert goers were dead with scores of others left injured.

Night of terror

The night of terror began at a pair of cafés, Le Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon on the Rue Bichat and Rue Aliber,when gunmen opened fire on those eating inside one before reloading and firing upon the other leaving 14 dead.

Then came an attack at La Casa Nostra, an Italian restaurant, in Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi south of Rue Bichat, by a man wielding a machine gun. At least five people were killed by the gunman who, according to one witness, fired "bursts of three or four shots."

At around 21:30 CET three explosions occurred near the Stade de France in the suburb of Saint-Denis, and resulted in at least five deaths. At least 10 people were injured or killed in an explosion at a bar near the stadium about twenty minutes after the kick-off in the international friendly football match between France and Germany which the President of France François Hollande was attending.

Less than twenty minutes later there was another mass shooting as two attackers fired for several minutes at the terrace of La Belle Équipe, a restaurant on the rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement of Paris before returning to their car and driving away. Police later confirmed that 18 people were killed by gunmen.


The attacks thus far had been deadly, but the assault on the Bataclan Concert Theatre was nothing less than slaughter.

The American rock band Eagles of Death Metal were playing to an audience of around 1,500 when about an hour into the concert, four black-clad men with AK-47 assault rifles entered the hall.

There are conflicting reports as to whether the men said anything, but some witnesses said the terrorists shouted "Allahu akbar" just before calmly and methodically opening fire into the crowd.

The killing finally stopped when armed police stormed the theatre. Four attackers were killed, three of whom died by detonating their suicide belts. The fourth was hit by police gunfire, and his belt blew up when he fell.

Repercussions & recriminations

After a little over three hours of terror some 128 people were dead and 100 others were critically injured in hospital.

Meanwhile eight attackers were killed and authorities were continuing to search for any accomplices that remained at large.

In response, French President François Hollande announced a national state of emergency, and subsequently placed temporary controls on the borders of France in a televised statement at 23:58 CET. It was the first nation-wide state of emergency since the end of the Second World War.

Prior to the attack, France had been on high alert since the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks in Paris. But these latest series of attacks were having far wider implications as some American airlines suspended flights to Paris and other countries began to rethink their security procedures. The subsequent claim of responsibility for the attack by Islamic State has also raised concerns as to the growing threat of the terror group.

More reports: BBC / Sky News / France 24 / CNN / Telegraph / Guardian / Daily Mail

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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