Islamic State Claims Paris Attacks That Killed 129


(RFE/RL) — French officials say 129 people were killed in Paris terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said 352 people were injured in November 13 shootings and explosions in multiple locations in the French capital.

He added that 99 of the injured are in critical condition.

Molins also said seven “terrorists” – all wearing identical explosives belts – were killed in the attacks.

He added that three coordinated teams of gunmen struck at six different sites across Paris.

Molins said the type of explosives used by the attackers – who were wearing suicide vests – was triacetone triperoxide (TATP). TATP is a type of explosive that can be made with easily available chemicals and is difficult to detect.

The IS extremist group said in an official statement posted online November 14 that “eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles” carried out the attacks.

It said the attacks were a response to insults to Islam’s prophet and air strikes in “Islamic State territory.”

The statement comes shortly after French President Francois Hollande said in a televised address that the attacks were committed by Islamic State extremists.

Calling the attacks an “act of war,” Hollande said the attacks were planned and organized from abroad with help from inside France.

The attacks are the worst terrorist attack in France’s history and the worst witnessed in Europe since the 2004 Madrid railway bombings, which claimed 191 lives.

None of the attackers has yet been publicly identified.

The Paris prosecutor said one of the attackers was born in France.

Molins also said a French national was among three people linked to the Paris attacks arrested at the Belgian border in the morning on November 14.

He said a different suicide attacker identified by a Syrian passport found near his body at the national stadium was not known to French intelligence services.

Greek officials say two men who French police are seeking to trace in connection with the attacks registered as refugees in Greece earlier this year.

“The holder of the passport passed through the island of Leros on October 3, 2015, where he was identified according to EU rules,” said Greece’s deputy minister in charge of police, Nikos Toscas.

A Greek police source was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying the second man had also registered in Greece, with TV station Mega adding this was also on Leros in August.

Over 800,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with over 3,400 dying in the process.

In Belgium, authorities said on November 14 they have made several arrests linked to the attacks in Paris.

Justice Minister Koen Geens said the arrests came after a car with Belgian license plates was seen close to the Bataclan theater late on November 13.

He said it was a rental vehicle and police organized several raids in the St. Jans Molenbeek neighborhood in Brussels on November 14.

The LA Times has quoted U.S. law enforcement officials with knowledge of the French investigation, as saying that the attack was seemingly planned in Belgium.

The newspaper wrote that the Paris attacks “apparently began with a small extremist cell in Brussels, where French authorities believe the attacks were planned and the operation financed.”

German officials say a man arrested in Germany’s southern state of Bavaria in early November after guns and explosives were found in his car may be linked to the Paris attacks.

“There are reasonable grounds for presuming that it might be related to the matter,” Bavaria’s state premier, Horst Seehofer, said on November 14.

At the scene of the worst carnage, the gunmen entered the Bataclan concert hall as it was hosting an American rock band and held dozens of the some 1,500 concertgoers there hostage as they went on a shooting spree.

Paris city officials told media that at least 89 people were killed in the concert hall.

Eyewitnesses present in the hall during the attacks said the gunmen, some shouting “God is greatest” in Arabic, systematically shot dead hostages as the music fans tried to hide.

Some victims were killed when the militants set off their suicide vests as the hall was stormed by elite French forces, who managed to shoot and kill one of the attackers before he set off his suicide bomb belt.

There was also an apparent double suicide bombing north of the center of the city near the Stade de France national stadium, where Germany and France were playing a friendly soccer match.

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

There were also attacks on three restaurants, including one where gunmen opened fire on patrons sitting at an outdoor terrace.

Hollande has vowed to be ruthless with any attackers and accomplices who remained alive.

Calling the attacks an “abomination” and “barbarism,” he vowed: “We will lead the fight. We will be merciless.”

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

France is to observe three days of official mourning.

Meanwhile, people have been gathering around the world to mourn for the victims of attacks, holding candlelit vigils, singing the French national anthem, and leaving flowers and messages at French embassies across the globe.

National landmarks were lit up in the French Tricolore, including in Australia, China, the United States, and across many European cities.

​International Condemnation

World leaders are condemning the attacks.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the November 13 attacks “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed that “we will do whatever we can to help.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the attacks were a call to unite against extremism.

“The Paris tragedy requires of us all to unite in the fight against extremism, to bring a strong answer to terrorists’ actions,” Medvedev said in a statement published on the government’s website.

Chinese President Xi Jinping condemned “in the strongest ways this barbarous act.”

Iranian President Hassan Rohani branded the attacks “crimes against humanity” as Tehran announced he would postpone a scheduled trip to Paris this weekend because of them.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who announced the cancellation to Iranian news media, did not say when the trip would be rescheduled.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah tweeted that “these brutal, barbaric & coward attacks show that terrorists have no religion…. Global efforts must eliminate terrorism.”

And the head of Sunni Islam’s leading seat of learning, Cairo’s Al-Azhar, condemned the attacks as “hateful.”

“We denounce this hateful incident,” Ahmad al-Tayyeb told a conference in comments broadcast by Egyptian state television.


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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