In what officials are calling the worst attack on the storied city since World War II, gunmen killed 87 people at the Bataclan theater, where an American band was playing. Another 42 were killed in five other attacks across Paris that included an “apparent double suicide bombing” near the Stade de France national stadium.
President Francois Hollande, who called the attacks an act of war against France, was attending a game at the stadium when the explosion occurred.
Hollande said the attacks had been organized from abroad by Islamic State with internal help. “Faced with war, the country must take appropriate action,” he said after an emergency meeting of security chiefs. He also announced three days of national mourning.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy added in a statement: “The war we must wage should be total.” During a visit to Vienna, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “we are witnessing a kind of medieval and modern fascism at the same time.”
In its claim of responsibility, Islamic State said the attacks were a response to France’s campaign against its fighters. It also distributed an undated video in which a militant said France would not live peacefully as long it took part in U.S.-led bombing raids against them.
“As long as you keep bombing you will not live in peace. You will even fear traveling to the market,” said a bearded Arabic-speaking militant, flanked by other fighters.
The attacks, Reuters reports, lasted about 40 minutes. Seven assailants died from explosive belts and an eighth was killed by police.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest.