Paris attacks sees 127 dead, one terrorist identified as French national

Paris attacks
Photo: AFP

Paris: At least 127 people were killed and over 200 injured as eight Islamic State terrorists, armed with automatics and wearing suicide vests, unleashed Mumbai-style mayhem in six crowded areas of Paris, shocking the world and drawing international condemnation. There was, however, no report of any Indian killed or wounded in the horrific attack.

One attacker involved in the Bataclan theatre shooting and hostage-taking on Friday night has been identified as a French national through finger prints, French TV BFMTV reported Saturday, citing a police source.

French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and vowed to hit back.

The killers targeted crowded theatres, cafes and tourist spots on Friday night. All entry and exit points in France, normally open, were now being controlled.

"Faced with terror, France must be strong," a shaken Hollande said, adding "we will be". France "knows how to defend itself, knows how to mobilise its forces and, once again, will defeat the terrorists".

Hollande, who called the terror attack "an act of war", put the toll at 127 although initial reports had said more than 150 were killed.

"This is for Syria!" screamed one of the attackers as he sprayed gunfire on Friday night at one of the six sites in Paris, in an obvious reference to France's combat role against the Islamic State.

The audacious terrorists -- all eight of whom were later reported killed -- also chose to target a football stadium where President Francois Hollande was viewing a France-Germany match. He was quickly evacuated.

One witness said the killers didn't wear masks and looked young.

Also read: Gunfire in Marseille ahead of French PM's visit

Rescuers evacuate an injured person on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, close to the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris. Pic/AFP
Rescuers evacuate an injured person on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, close to the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris. Pic/AFP

The most horrific of the near simultaneous attacks took place at the Bataclan theatre where the terrorists burst in, opened fire, reloading their automatics at least thrice, took people hostages and, as security forces stormed it, exploded themselves, killing over 100 civilians.

A shaken Hollande declared a state of emergency across the country.

Later, he visited the concert hall and vowed revenge. The terrorists, he announced, would be fought "without mercy", BBC and French media reported.

On Saturday morning, French security forces announced that all the attackers were dead but a hunt was on for possible accomplices. Residents in Paris were told to stay indoors. The city was swarming with soldiers.

Paris shooting

Two explosions were heard near the national football stadium Stade de France where a France-Germany friendly soccer match was being played, attended by French President Francois Hollande.

Rushing back to the Interior Ministry from Stade de France, Hollande condemned the "unprecedented terrorist attacks".

Also read: Paris Shooting - At least 12 shot dead in France's deadliest terror attack

All schools and universities were ordered closed on Saturday. It was the worst incident of violence to rock Paris after World War II.

US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led the international community in denouncing the mindless violence, which left at least 200 people injured including 80 critically.

People wrapped in life emergency blankets walk near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, early on November 14, 2015. Pic/AFP

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, now in Britain, described the attack as "anguishing and dreadful" and said New Delhi stood with the people of France at this tragic hour.

President Pranab Mukherjee added: "Strongly condemn terrorist attacks in Paris. India stands firmly with France, my heart goes out to its people."

The series of attacks not far from the Place de la Republique and Place de la Bastille struck at the heart of the capital at Friday night when cafes, bars and restaurants were doing peak business, BBC said.

Customers were singled out at a pizza restaurant, a Cambodian restaurant, a bar and a McDonlads outlet.

Another target was the Stade de France, on the northern fringe of Paris, where President Hollande was among the 80,000 people watching a friendly tie between France and Germany.

The worst carnage took place on the 1,500-capacity Bataclan concert hall where gunmen opened fire on people watching US rock group The Eagles of Death Metal.

Also Read: Paris hostage crisis ends, 3 gunmen killed, some hostages dead

Forensic police search for evidences inside the La Belle Equipe cafe, rue de Charonne, at the site of an attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, after a series of gun attacks occurred across the city. Pic/AFP

BBC quoted Julien Pierce, a journalist who was at the concert, as saying: "Several armed men came in. Two or three men, not wearing masks, had what looked like Kalashnikovs and fired blindly on the crowd.

"It lasted between 10 to 15 minutes. It was extremely violent and there was panic. The attackers had enough time to reload at least three times. They were very young... There were bodies everywhere."

The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo walks toward the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, on November 14, 2015. Pic/ AFP

At the football stadium, people heard outside two big bangs in the first half of the match and a smaller explosion in the second half. No one died.

The carnage came as France, a member of the US-led coalition combating the Islamic State, struck the group's strategic targets this week.

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