Following a coordinated string of attacks in the heart of Paris which killed dozens of people, French authorities stormed the concert hall after gunmen took more than 100 people hostage. Authorities killed three terrorists were killed in the assault. An American rock group had been performing as the terrorists fired upon the spectators from a balcony. Ambulances arrived at the scene to aid the victims. A handful managed to escape to tell of the horror taking place inside as the killers shouted “This is for Syria!” and “Alahu Akhbar!” as they cut down patrons from a balcony before the band took the stage. As many as six other attacks were believed to have involved shootings and at least two suicide bombers, including one who detonated near the city’s Stade de France soccer stadium where the French and German national teams were playing in a match attended by Hollande. The death toll was expected to climb, and more than 60 were reportedly wounded.
French law enforcement announced they arrested one man, but no terror organizations immediately claimed credit. Witnesses’ say one of the gunman at Petit Cambodge was heard shouting “This is for Syria!” as he sprayed bullets at patrons. The attacks spanned at least two Paris districts, the 10th and 11th arrondisements. The 10th arrondisement is a cosmopolitan district lined with restaurants and cafes. It also is the location of the two famed train stations Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est. The 11th arrondissement is located on the Right Bank of the River Seine and is one of the capital’s most populated urban districts, with nearly 150,000 residents. U.S. Homeland Security officials are monitoring the attacks in Paris but have said there is no credible threat against the United States. Law enforcement has placed New York and Boston on high alert following the Paris attacks. In response to the attacks, French President Francois Hollande released a statement:
These terrorist attacks of an unprecedented magnitude are ongoing. There have been tens of people killed, there are many injuries. It’s a horror. We have, at my direction, mobilized all of the forces possible so that we can neutralize the terrorists and secure all of the affected areas. I have also demanded military reinforcements. I have also convened the council of ministers. Two decisions will be made: the state of emergency will be declared, which means that many places may be closed, traffic will be prohibited in certain places. The second decision that I made was the closure of the borders so that the people who committed these crimes can be apprehended. We know where this attack comes from. We need to show compassion and solidarity and at the same time we need to show unity. Faced with terror, France has to be strong, she has to be grand. We also need to call everyone to be responsible. If these terrorists want to make us afraid, to fill us with fear. But while we are facing fear we are a nation that knows how to defend itself. We have not finished these operations. At this very moment the special forces have launched their attack on a place in Paris”
The attacks comes 11 months after brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store, killing 12 people. Al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch took credit for that attack, which shocked the French city. President Obama called the assaults an “attack on all humanity and the universal values we all share.” He called it “a heartbreaking situation.” According to the Associated Press, a police official said 11 people were killed in a Paris restaurant in the 10th arrondissement, and about more than a dozen killed in the Bataclan theatre, where a hostage-taking is under way.