French President Francois Hollande has closed its borders and declared a nation state of emergency after at least 40 people were killed in multiple, near simultaneous gun and bomb attacks in Paris on Friday evening.
According to BBC, up to 60 people are being held hostage near the Bataclan arts centre, where at least 15 people were killed.
The gun and bomb attacks appear to have targeted busy restaurants and bars at locations around Paris, with the deadliest attack targeted the Bataclan concert hall.
In an attack near the State de France, at least 3 people are believed to have died from a suicide blast. A BBC reporter said a total of 10 people can be seen lying on the road after multiple attacks hit neighbouring Le Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon restaurants in the 10th district. It’s unclear whether they are dead or seriously injured. An eyewitness also told Liberation newspaper that he has heard at least 100 rounds being fired at La Belle Equipe cafe in the 11th district.
It is believed that up to 6 gunmen are involved in the attacks, with French media reporting higher unofficial death tolls. Paris residents have been advised to stay indoors and military personnel are currently being deployed across Paris.
The map below shows the locations of Paris attacks:
France has been on high alert since satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo‘s headquarters became the target of a deadly terrorist attack in Janauary by Islamic extremists. At the time, a kosher supermarket was attacked as well and the attacks left 20 dead, including the 3 attackers and editor Stéphane Charbonnier.
As for this series of apparently coordinated gun and bomb assault, US security sources believed that an Islamist militant group was behind the carnage. As a founder member of the US-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, France remains on high alert as the capital is currently 2 weeks away from a global climate conference that is due to open on 30th November. Dozens of world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, will be gathered at the event.
Following the deadly attacks in Paris, government sources told Reuters that French President Francois Hollande has cancelled his participation to this weekend’s G20 meeting in Turkey. Another source said that Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will first go to Vienna for the Syria talks, will attend the G20 meeting instead.
US President Barack Obama spoke of the attack and described it as “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he was shocked and pledged to do “whatever we can to help”.
UPDATE (14th November, 9:06am):
According to Associated Press, a French police official at Paris City Hall said at least 100 people were killed inside a Paris concert hall and 40 others died in other locations in a coodinated series of terror attacks in and around Paris.
NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley said that French police have reportedly taken control of the concert hall, and 2 attackers have been killed. French media are reporting that the attacks may have targeted at least 7 locations, but it’s unsure whether sites were double counted.