Paris Attacks Kill More Than 150, The Worst Terrorist Attack In France History.
PARIS The Paris area reeled Friday night from a shooting rampage, explosions and mass hostage-taking that President Franois Hollande called an unprecedented terrorist attack on France. His government announced sharply increased border controls and heightened police powers as it mobilized the military in a national emergency.
French television and news services quoted the police as saying that around 100 people had been killed at a concert site where hostages had been held during a two-hour standoff with the police, and that perhaps dozens of others had been killed in apparently coordinated attacks outside the countrys main sports stadium and four other popular locations in the city. But estimates on the total number of dead varied.
Witnesses on French television said the scene at the concert hall, which can seat as many as 1,500 people, was a massacre, describing how gunmen with automatic weapons shot bursts of bullets into the crowd.
Ambulances were seen racing back and forth in the area into the early hours of Saturday, and hundreds of survivors were evacuated in police buses. French television said Paris hospitals were overwhelmed with wounded.
News agencies quoted Michel Cadot, head of the Paris police, as saying early Saturday that all the assailants involved in shootings or bombings were believed to be dead, and the Paris prosecutors office said that eight attackers were dead, according to The Associated Press.
But the total number involved in the attacks, including accomplices still at large, remained unclear.
We are going to try and determine what happened, determine what the profiles of these terrorists are, find out what their course of action was, find out if there are still accomplices or co-attackers, said Franois Molins, the public prosecutor for Paris.
The casualties eclipsed by far the deaths in Paris during the massacre at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and related assaults around the French capital by Islamic militant extremists less than a year ago.
Those attacks traumatized France and other countries in Europe, elevating fears of religious extremism and violent jihadists who have been radicalized by the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.
An explosion near the sports stadium, the Stade de France, which French news services said was apparently a suicide bombing, occurred as the German and French national teams were playing a soccer match, forcing a hasty evacuation of Mr. Hollande. As the scope of the assaults quickly became clear, he convened an emergency cabinet meeting and announced that France was placing severe restrictions on its border crossings.
As I speak, terrorist attacks of an unprecedented scale are taking place in the Paris region, he said in a nationally televised address. There are several dozen dead, lots more wounded. Its horrific.
Mr. Hollande said that on his orders the government had mobilized all the forces we can muster to neutralize the threats and secure all of the areas.
President Obama came to the White House briefing room to express solidarity and offer aid and condolences. Once again, weve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians, he said. This is an attack not just on Paris, its an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share. Other world leaders quickly condemned the assaults.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.