ISSN 2330-717X

France: State Of Emergency As Scores Killed In Paris Attacks

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(RFE/RL) — French police say around 100 people were killed by gunmen in a concert hall in Paris as others were shot dead at a restaurant and died in suicide bombings near the country’s largest soccer stadium.

The multiple attacks in the French capital are the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history.

Parisian authorities have asked people to stay in their homes in case gunmen are still loose in the city and all of the city’s metro lines have been closed.

French President Francois Hollande said on French television that the attacks were “unprecedented” and some operations were still ongoing.

He has declared a state of emergency and said he had closed the country’s borders. Some 1,500 French soldiers were also deployed in Paris.

Hollande has canceled his participation in the G20 summit on major world economies in Turkey slated for November 14 and has called a Defense Council meeting at the Elysee Palace.

First reports of the multipronged attacks were at a restaurant in the city center where no less than 11 people were killed when at least two gunmen opened fire upon them.

Many others were wounded and the gunmen are believe to have fled the scene.

At roughly the same time, several other gunmen attacked central Paris’s Bataclan theater, where a concert by an American rock band, the Eagles of Death Metal, was taking place.

The gunmen are reported to have taken dozens of hostages — and French security forces have since stormed the concert hall.

Eyewitnesses said two or three unmasked gunmen burst into the concert hall while the show was going on and started randomly shooting people.

One reporter attending the concert told CNN that the shooting continued for several minutes and people dove on the floor trying to shield themselves.

The reporter said his friends at the concert had texted him that they had hidden in the Bataclan in hopes of evading the gunmen.

The gunmen held dozens of people hostage in the concert hall, which was stormed by an elite French force. Some reports said the gunmen were executing hostages one by one.

Gunshots and explosions were heard in the hall during the special forces’ assault.

Police said three gunmen were killed as the elite force took control of the concert hall.

Hollande is reported to be heading to the Bataclan concert hall.

Meanwhile, multiple explosions were heard north of the city center near the Stade de France, where Germany and France were playing a friendly soccer match.

The explosions occurred in the first half of the match and alarmed many of the fans.

Hollande, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier were evacuated from the soccer match.

The match was not halted and spectators gathered on the field after the game, afraid to leave the stadium.

Those people slowly began leaving the stadium after being told it was safe to leave.

There are reports that at least one explosion was detonated by a suicide bomber.

U.S. President Barack Obama said at the White House that the Paris attacks were an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”

He said the events are a “heartbreaking situation” and an “attack on all of humanity.”

Obama said he did not want to speculate about who was behind the attacks.

“Whenever these kinds of attacks happen, we’ve always been able to count on the French people to stand with us. They have been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner. And we intend to be there with them in that same fashion,” he said

Obama is slated to travel to Turkey on November 14 for the G20 summit of major world economies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is “deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning “the despicable terrorist attacks” in Paris.

In New York, the police department said the city was on a heightened state of alert and that counterterrorism police had been sent to crowded areas.

The attacks in Paris come just 10 months after an attack by Islamist gunmen on the satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo headquarters in the French capital that left 12 dead.

RFE RL

RFE RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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