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At least 120 killed in Paris attacks

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

At least 120 people killed in Paris ‘terror’ attacks
Phuket Gazette/The Nation


PARIS: Police in the French capital are reporting that at least 80 people were killed in a mass hostage-taking at a Paris concert hall Friday evening, with many more feared dead after a series of bombings and shootings.

The French government has declared a national state of emergency, ordering public services, including schools, closed on Saturday.

At the Bataclan music venue in eastern Paris, police reported that armed attackers shot dead people attending a rock concert one by one before police stormed the building.

One witness said an attacker had earlier yelled ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest) and fired into the crowd at the concert given by US rock band, Eagles of Death Metal.

It was one of a series of attacks at seven locations across Paris in an unprecedented night of carnage in the French capital, which is still recovering from jihadist attacks in January.

The Bataclan lies just 200 meters from the former offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, which was one of the targets of those attacks.

In addition to the carnage at the concert hall, there were three explosions near the Stade de France national stadium in the north of the capital, where France were playing Germany in an international football match, security sources said. Le Parissiene reported that four died in the attacks, 11 people were in a critical condition and 39 others were injured.

One of the explosions was caused by a suicide bomber, witnesses said.

President Francois Hollande was attending the match and had to be hastily evacuated.

A Cambodian restaurant – Petit Cambdge – near the concert hall was also attacked, with further deaths reported.

“We heard gunfire, 30 seconds of fire, it was interminable, we thought it was fireworks,” said Pierre Montfort, who lives near Rue Bichat, where the Cambodian restaurant is located.

“Everyone was on the floor, no one moved,” said another eyewitness who had been at the Petit Cambodge restaurant.

“Terrorist attacks of an unprecedented level are underway across the Paris region,” President Hollande said in an emotional televised message.

“It’s a horror,” he said.

Authorities also reported that further attacks took the lives of 19 people on Rue Charonne, 14 were killed on Rue Bichat and four more were dead on Avenue de la Republique, with dozens injured at all location, many in critical condition.

President Hollande declared a state of emergency across the entire country and cancelled his trip to the G20 summit due to take place in Turkey at the weekend.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker said they were ‘deeply shocked’ by the attacks.

The focus of the attacks was the Bataclan theater. Armed police eventually stormed the venue at around 23.35 GMT, accompanied by a series of explosions.

“I saw 20 to 25 bodies lying on the floor and people were very badly injured, gunshot wounds,” Julien Pierce, a witness at the Bataclan, told Europe 1 radio.

“Some of them were dead. Some of them were very badly wounded, but it was a bloodbath.”

At the Stade de France, spectators flooded the pitch as news of the attacks spread before organizers started an evacuation.

An AFP reporter outside the Bataclan said before the police stormed the venue, hundreds of officers carrying machine-guns were keeping guard and more than 20 police wagons with their lights flashing were at the scene.

1,500 military personnel were mobilized to reinforce police and ensure no further attacks took place, and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, asked Parisiens to stay in their homes until the situation is under control.

Counter-terrorism prosecutors said they had opened a preliminary investigation.

France has been on high alert since the attacks in January against Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket that left 17 dead.

Several other attacks have been foiled through the year.

Security had begun to be stepped up ahead of key UN climate talks to be held just outside the French capital from November 30, with border checks restored from Friday.

More than 500 French fighters are thought to be with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, according to official figures, while 250 have returned and some 750 expressed a desire to go there.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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