BBC, November 14, 2015
The near-simultaneous attacks in Paris that killed nearly 130 people were an “act of war” organised by the Islamic State (IS) militant group, French President Francois Hollande says.
He said the attacks, carried out by eight gunmen and suicide bombers, were “organised and planned from outside”.
The targets included bars, restaurants, a concert and a high-profile football match. IS claimed the attacks.
Mr Hollande has declared three days of national mourning.
He raised the security threat level to its highest point and imposed a nationwide state of emergency. Hospital officials now put the number of injured at 300. Eighty are in a critical condition.
These are the deadliest attacks in peacetime France, and only the fourth time since WW2 that a state of emergency has been imposed. The last time was during a 2005 wave of riots in poor suburbs.
It is the worst atrocity in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.
The night of violence unfolded soon after 21:00 (20:00 GMT) as people were enjoying a Friday night out in the French capital.
A gunman opened fire on Le Carillon bar in the rue Alibert, not far from the Place de la Republique, before heading across the road to Le Petit Cambodge (Little Cambodia), killing at least 12 people.
“We heard the sound of guns, 30-second bursts. It was endless. We thought it was fireworks,” Pierre Montfort, a resident living close to Le Petit Cambodge, said.
A few streets away, diners sitting on the terrace of La Casa Nostra pizzeria in rue de la Fontaine au Roi, were also fired on, with the loss of at least five lives.
At around the same time, on the northern outskirts of Paris, 80,000 people who had gathered to watch France play Germany at the Stade de France heard three explosions outside the stadium.
President Hollande was among the spectators and was whisked to safety after the first explosion. It later emerged three suicide bombers blew themselves up at fast food outlets and a brasserie near the stadium.
A Syrian passport was found on the body of one of the bombers at the stadium, police say.
The attack on the 1,500-seat Bataclan concert hall was the deadliest of Friday night’s attacks. Gunmen opened fire on a sell-out gig by US rock group Eagles of Death Metal, killing at least 80 people.
“At first we thought it was part of the show but we quickly understood,” Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter, told AFP news agency.
“They didn’t stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. We heard screaming. Everyone was trying to flee.”
He said the gunmen took 20 hostages, and he heard one of them tell their captives: “It’s the fault of Hollande, it’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria”.
Within an hour, security forces had stormed the concert hall and all four attackers there were dead. Three had blown themselves up and a fourth was shot dead by police.
AFP news agency quotes sources involved in the investigation as saying that one of those who carried out the concert hall attack, a French citizen, has been identified.
Islamic State released a statement on Saturday saying “eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles” had carried out the attacks on “carefully chosen” targets, and were a response to France’s involvement in the air strikes on IS militants in Syria and Iraq.
Shortly before, President Hollande said France had been “attacked in a cowardly shameful and violent way”.
“So France will be pitiless in its response to the Islamic State militants,” he said, vowing to “use all means within the law . . . on every battleground here and abroad together with our allies”.
As Paris reels from the events of Friday night, many municipal buildings as well as Disneyland Paris have been closed, sports events have been cancelled and large gatherings have been banned for the next five days. Residents are being urged to donate blood.
Police believe all of the gunmen are dead–seven killed themselves with explosives vests and one was shot dead by the security forces–but it is unclear if any accomplices are still on the run.
Police are searching for a black Seat car with foreign registration plates and alloy wheels which may have been used in the attacks.
US President Barack Obama spoke of “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”.
UK PM David Cameron said he was shocked and pledged to do “whatever we can to help”.
The Vatican called it “an attack on peace for all humanity” and said “a decisive, supportive response” was needed “on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all its forms”.