A series of coordinated terror attacks in the heart of Paris have left at least 60 dead and paralysed the French capital with fear.
At least 11 were killed in a restaurant shootout and another 15 at the Bataclan concert hall where terrorists are said to be holding 100 people hostage.
Five bomb blasts and machine gun fire were heard from outside the concert hall, following reports that police had raided the theatre.
Just five miles away, two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France sports stadium where the French football team was playing a friendly match against Germany.
French President Francoise Hollande declared a national state of emergency following what he called ‘unprecedented terror attacks’ and shut its borders with immediate effect.
Terrorists launched a total of six coordinated attacks at high profile sites including the Louvre art gallery, the Pompidou Centre and Les Halles shopping centre tonight–all of which have been threatened by extremist groups in recent months.
A man who was inside the Bataclan concert hall when the gunmen burst in told a French radio station that the men shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ as they opened fire.
He added: ‘The men came in and started shooting. Everyone fell to the ground. It was hell. I took my mum, and we hid. Someone near us said they have gone, so we ran out.’
They also shouted, ‘this is for Syria’, another witness inside the theatre claimed.
Gilles Avel, who was at the Bataclan where the band Eagles of Death Metal were playing, said: ‘We are all terrified, and have been told to get away as soon as possible.’
A wounded hostage inside the theatre described how terrorists were killing people ‘one by one’. Benjamin Cazenoves wrote on social media: ‘I’m still at the Bataclan. 1st floor. Hurt Bad! There are survivors inside. They are cutting down all the world. One by one.’
In another post, he added: ‘Alive. Just cuts . . . Carnage . . . Dead bodies everywhere.’
The two explosions in a bar near the Stade de France stadium were detonated by suicide bombers, it has been confirmed.
A witness said the explosions were loud enough to be heard over the sound of cheering fans. Sirens were heard immediately and a helicopter was seen circling overhead.
Players briefly stopped in their tracks when they heard the twin blasts. Following news of the attack, thousands of fans–too scared to leave the stadium–poured onto the pitch.Machine gun fire and screams were heard from inside a restaurant on Rue Bichat at around 9pm
An AK47 gunman attacked a Korean restaurant in the Bastille area of the city, while grenade blasts were also heard.
Police and other emergency services are at the scene, which is close to where the Charlie Hebdo attack happened in January.
Images posted online showed the cracked windows of what appeared to be the restaurant under attack.
Dozens of people were standing outside their cars on the junction opposite and the lights of police cars could be seen above them.
Eyewitness Ben Grant, who was in a nearby bar with his wife at the time, said he saw 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.’
Emilioi Macchio from Italy was at a bar close to where the restaurant shooting took place, and said it ‘sounded like fireworks’.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named.
President Hollande said: ‘France needs to be strong. Terrorists want us to be scared. In the face of terror we must be united.’
Paris’ deputy mayor said the attacks were a horrific reminder of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January, adding: ‘It’s a heavy recollection of what happened in January (C. Hebdo). Now we are struck again. This is harder. I am shaken.’
U.S. President Barrack Obama tonight branded the carnage in Paris an ‘attack on humanity’ and claimed it was an ‘outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians’.
David Cameron said that he was ‘shocked by events in Paris’ and pledged to do ‘whatever we can to help’, adding: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people.’
The restaurant targeted Friday, Le Carillon, is in the same general neighborhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices.
France has been on edge since ISIS extremists launched a bloody attack on the satirical newspaper and a kosher grocery that left 20 people–including the three attackers–dead.
The attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left 13 dead when two Paris born terrorists slaughtered its cartoonists and general staff members.
Four Jewish shoppers were also murdered in the same set of attacks inside a Kosher supermarket in nearby Vincennes.
The French capital has been on a high state of alert ever since, with security services warning that another attack was always likely.
ISIS’s online supporters have already started to celebrate the devastating attack in Paris, using the hashtag ‘Paris in fire’ on social media, but it has not been confirmed whether the terror group is behind the attacks.