- At least 129 dead, 352 injured — at least 99 critically — following series of attacks in Paris on Friday night, according to Paris prosecutor.
- President Francois Hollande calls the attacks — France’s deadliest violence since WWII — an “act of war.”
- Islamic State claims responsibility, warns that “this attack is just the start of a storm.”
- Three separate “teams” were involved in the attacks, according to the prosecutor. Seven attackers are dead, one was a French national known to police as an Islamist extremist.
- The North Terminal of Gatwick Airport in England was evacuated on Saturday; reported French man with two guns arrested.
- Several suspects arrested after a raid in Brussels on Saturday afternoon.
This story is being continuously updated. Check back regularly or click here to refresh.
In France’s deadliest violence since World War II, a series of attacks in Paris on Friday night have left at least 129 people dead and 352 injured — including 99 critically — Paris’ prosecutor said in a press conference Saturday. Seven of the perpetrators of the attacks have also been killed.
French President Francois Hollande called the attacks an “act of war,” and he pointed to the Islamic State terror group as the culprit. He said he would address French parliament on Monday in an extraordinary meeting, and the country would observe three days of official mourning.
The group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Three separate “teams” were involved in the series of attacks, said Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor. One of the terrorists responsible for the massacre at Paris’ Bataclan concert venue, where most of the violence Friday night occurred, was a 30-year-old French national.
Now dead, he was known to police as an Islamic extremist but never spent time in prison because he had no known links to specific organisations, Molins said. Another attacker, who had a Syrian passport, is also dead. All were armed with Kalashnikov rifles and had explosive vests, the prosecutor said.
Police have made a raid in a Brussels neighbourhood as part of the investigation, the news agency AFP reported on Saturday afternoon. Several suspects have been arrested, The Independent reports, alluding to individuals who rented a vehicle police searched along with at least three other properties.
Two people French police are trying to trace in connection with the attacks registered as refugees with Greek authorities this year, the AFP reported Saturday, citing Greek police.
Molins said that a black Fiat and a Volkswagen Polo, either rented or hired by a French man living in Belgium, was found at the border.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility early Saturday for attacks. In an official statement, the group said its fighters strapped with suicide-bombing belts and carrying machine guns carried out the attacks in carefully studied locations in the heart of the capital.
According to a statement in French translated by The Guardian, the Islamic State said that “France and those who follow its path must know that they remain the principle targets of the Islamic State.”
The statement continued: “This attack is just the start of a storm and a warning for those who wish to draw lessons.”
The BBC reported that 1,500 soldiers have been mobilized in Paris. Public buildings including schools, universities, libraries, and museums are closed in the city, and sporting fixtures in the area have been postponed. The Eiffel Tower will be closed until further notice.
Hollande also took the unprecedented step of temporarily closing the country’s borders, and he has declared a state of emergency.
In other developments, the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport in England was evacuated on Saturday. A French man with two guns was reportedly arrested after fleeing from airline employees. A plane heading for France has also been grounded, following a threatening tweet. An American student has reportedly been identified as a victim in the attacks.
Some of the world’s most-famous monuments — including the Sydney Opera House and One World Trade Center in New York — are being lit up red, white, and blue in solidarity with Paris.
Here’s an early timeline of how the attacks took place. They were all closely coordinated.
An international chorus of condemnation
The UN Security Council denounced the ‘barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks,” according to Al Arabiya. “The Security Council underlined the need to bring the perpetrators of these terrorist acts to justice,” it said in a statement.
In the US, President Barack Obama has called the attacks “an attack of all of humanity.” Angela Merkel says she is “deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.”
“Our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to our French cousins in this dark and terrible time,” Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said.
The Vatican’s Rev. Federico Lombardi called the violence “an attack on peace for all humanity.” He called for “a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all of its forms,” according to The New York Times.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has also condemned the attacks, saying that such acts of terror were similar to what his people had faced in years of violent civil war. “What France suffered from savage terror is what the Syrian people have been enduring for over five years,” the Syrian President was quoted as saying on state media and Lebanese TV station al Mayadeen.
Islamic State takes responsibility, and says there is more to come
The attackers used guns and bombs at several sites across Paris, including the Stade de France, and the Bataclan Theatre, where a hostage situation saw more than 100 killed. Eight attackers have died — seven after killing themselves using explosive vests, according to Reuters — and the authorities are now searching for accomplices.
Eagles of Death Metal, the rock band playing at the Bataclan Theatre at the time of the attack, are believed to be safe.
Reuters is reporting that ISIS has released a video threatening France, warning that “as long as you keep bombing you will not live in peace. You will even fear travelling to the market.” The video is not dated.
Islamic State is also calling on would-be recruits to “operate within France”:
Terrorise them and do not allow them to sleep due to fear and horror. There are weapons and cars available and targets ready to be hit. Even poison is available, so poison the water and food of at least one of the enemies of Allah. Kill them and spit in their faces and run them over with your cars. Do whatever you are able to do in order to humiliate them, for they deserve only this.
France was already on high alert
The nation has been on high alert ever since the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015 killed 18 people.
Those attacks briefly united France in defence of freedom of speech, with a mass demonstration of more than a million people. But that unity has since broken down, with far-right populist Marine Le Pen gaining on both mainstream parties by blaming immigration and Islam for France’s security problems.
It was not clear what political impact the latest attacks would have less than a month before regional elections in which Le Pen’s National Front is set to make further advances.
The governing Socialist Party and the National Front suspended their election campaigns.
Hollande canceled plans to travel to Turkey at the weekend for a G20 summit.
Police near the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, the site of one of the attacks.
The mood on the ground
The atmosphere in Paris Saturday morning was relatively calm and not panicked, Business Insider UK editor Dina Spector reports. The Metro is still running, and people are still out and about and visiting cafés — although it is fairly quiet. One Parisian told us it feels “surprisingly calm.”
Another local we spoke to, on her way to open her café said that the attackers “attacked the culture of Paris.”
- Here’s now newspaper front pages across the world are covering the Paris attacks
- People are queueing in the streets of Paris to give blood after deadly attacks killed at least 127
- ‘Organised effort to destroy Western civilisation’: GOP candidates respond to the Paris attacks
Here’s how newspapers — and the wider world — have reacted:
“This time, it’s war,” says French paper Le Parisian:
Another French reaction, from sports newspaper L’Equipe:
Here is the front page of The New York Times on Saturday:
“Paris Under Siege” says the Los Angeles Times:
This is The Guardian’s Saturday edition:
Mexico lit up its Angel of Independence monument in solidarity:
The World Trade Centre in New York City also displayed support:
San Francisco stood with Paris:
In Australia, the Sydney Opera House also displayed the French colours.
We’ll be updating this post as the day goes on. Check back or click here to refresh for updates.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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