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Paris attacks: At least 153 killed in gunfire and blasts, French officials say

Paris (CNN)On a night when thousands of Paris residents and tourists were reveling and fans were enjoying a soccer match between France and world champion Germany, horror struck in an unprecedented manner. Terrorists — some with AK-47s, some reportedly with bombs strapped to them — attacked sites throughout the French capital and at the stadium where the soccer match was underway.

Scores were killed in the coordinated attacks late Friday, leaving a nation in mourning and the world in shock. CNN will update this story as information comes in

  • A man lies on the ground as French police check his identity near the Bataclan concert hall. The man was later released after his identity was verified. Photo: Reuters

    A man lies on the ground as French police check his identity near the Bataclan concert hall. The man was later released after his identity was verified. Photo: Reuters

  • Reuters
  • Rescue services personnel working near the covered bodies outside a restaurant following a shooting incident in Paris, France. Photo: Reuters

    Rescue services personnel working near the covered bodies outside a restaurant following a shooting incident in Paris, France. Photo: Reuters

  • The death toll from several attacks across Paris on Friday could reach over 120 Photo: Reuters

    The death toll from several attacks across Paris on Friday could reach over 120 Photo: Reuters

  • French fire brigade members aid an injured woman near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris, France on Friday.

    French fire brigade members aid an injured woman near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal shootings in Paris, France on Friday.

A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed nearly 120 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II. President Francois Hollande condemned it as terrorism and pledged that France would stand firm against its foes. The worst carnage was at a concert hall hosting an American rock band, where scores of people were held hostage and attackers ended the standoff by detonating explosive belts.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said as many as five attackers were killed, though it was not clear how many there were altogether and how many, if any, were still at large. Authorities said the death toll could exceed 120 for at least six sites, including the national stadium and a tight circle of popular nightspots.

The attack unfolded with two suicide bombings and an explosion outside the national stadium during a soccer match between the French and German national teams. Within minutes, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot, another group of attackers sprayed cafes outside the concert hall with machine gunfire, then stormed inside and opened fire on the panicked audience. As police closed in, they detonated explosive belts, killing themselves.

In addition to the deaths at the concert hall, dozens were killed in an attack on a restaurant in the 10th arrondissement and several other establishments crowded on a Friday night, police said. Authorities said at least three people died when the bombs went off outside the soccer stadium.


10:45 IST: 

Turkey, which hosts a G20 summit of world leaders this weekend, condemned attacks by gunmen and bombers in Paris as a crime against humanity and said it stood in full cooperation with France and its allies in the fight against terrorism. “These attacks are not only against the French people but all humanity, democracy, freedoms and universal values. Terror has no religion, no nationality and represents no values. Terrorism is a crime against humanity,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s office said in a statement.

10:25 IST:

The Paris hospital service says medical personnel are reporting for work of their own accord to help treat the injured in the multiple attacks in the city, and that others were being called in as part of a plan to deal with emergencies.

Among those called in minutes after the first reports went out was Patrick Pelloux, an emergency room doctor and former writer for Charlie Hebdo. Pelloux was also among the first to see the aftermath of the Jan. 7 attacks.

10:15 IST: 

President Barack Obama has spoken by phone to French President Francois Hollande to offer the condolences of the American people for the attacks in Paris.

10:00 IST

As per the latest update from the Prosecutor’s office: 8 extremists dead after Paris attacks, 7 of them in suicide bombings.

9:50 IST: 

Here’s a look at some of the targets of the attacks that included a stadium, a concert hall, cafes and bars

9:40 IST:

French newspaper Le Monde reports:

  • 450 firefighters from the Paris fire brigade of Paris, plus a further 280 from outer surburbs.
  • 46 crews (about 150 people) from the outer suburbs to support highway safety.
  • 1,500 soldiers deployed as reinforcements.

9:35 IST: 

A total of eight militants were killed, including seven by their suicide belts, during today’s attacks in Paris that left at least 120 dead, French media quoting investigation sources said.

9:30 IST: 

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told AP he was not aware of any chatter pointing to the Paris attacks ahead of time. Schiff says it is unclear who was responsible for the attacks, but says the Islamic State group and al—Qaida are “distinct possibilities” with the Islamic State more likely.

9:25 IST: 

France has been on edge since January, when Islamic extremists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had run cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. Twenty people died, including the three attackers. The Charlie Hebdo attackers claimed links to extremists in Yemen, while the kosher market attacker claimed ties to the Islamic State group.

9:21 IST: 

France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks. Hollande canceled a planned trip to this weekend’s G-20 summit in Turkey, which was to focus in large part on growing fears of terrorism carried out by Islamic extremists.

9:20 IST

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, although jihadists on Twitter immediately praised them and criticized France’s military operations against Islamic State extremists.

All the forces in Syria are fighting to stop the advance of the Islamic State. But is it as simple as it seems? Read more

9:15 IST:

As news of bloodshed filtered through the crowd and police sirens wailed outside, thousands of soccer fans milled around the Stade de France, reluctant to leave the seemingly safe stadium. Read more…. 

9:00 IST:

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is calling the attacks in Paris “an assault on our common human dignity.” The Pentagon chief says “the United States stands with the people of France and its vibrant, multicultural democracy.”

8:45 IST:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was too soon to say whether the deadly attacks in Paris would prompt him to reconsider his pledge to withdraw Canada from airstrikes against Islamic State militants in the Middle East.

8:35 IST:

French police say they believe all Paris attackers are dead, but search for accomplices continues.

8:33 IST:

Music band U2 has postponed its Saturday night concert in Paris in the light of the deadly attacks. Instead, the band says in a statement that it is resolved to go ahead with the concert “at an appropriate time.” U2 members say they watched in shock and disbelief at the unfolding events and were devastated by the loss of life at the concert held by Eagles of Death Metal, one of several sites in the city that was violently attacked. U2 members say- “We hope and pray that all of our fans in Paris are safe.”

8:30 IST

World leaders condemned the attacks and offered support. Read more

8:15 IST: 

Head of Paris police says all attackers are believed to be dead.

8:10 IST 

Hollande was attending an international soccer match with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier when several explosions took place outside the national stadium.

8:02 IST

The Paris Police Prefecture said the attackers at the Bataclan rock venue blew themselves up with suicide belts as police closed in, killing four people. He said the gunmen first sprayed cafes outside the venue with machine gunfire, then went inside the concert hall and killed more before the assault by security forces.

The prefect, Michel Cadot, said the one set of attackers was at the stadium and at nearly the same time the second group attacked within the city. Cadot said all the attackers are believed dead, although authorites are hunting for any possible accomplices.

Photo: Reuters

8:00 IST 

Death toll may cross 140, news agencies report

7:52 IST:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York is constantly on alert for coordinated terror attacks, especially in the wake of an attack in Paris that has killed dozens.

7:50 IST:

Facebook launched a check-in feature to let people know that friends in Paris were safe after a series of bombings and shootings in the French capital killed at least 120 people. The “Paris Terror Attacks” safety check let people signal whether they were out of harm’s way, then notified all those they know at the leading social network.

7:45 IST: 

Attacks in Paris that killed more than 100 people violate all human and moral values, Qatar’s foreign minister said in a statement.

“The state of Qatar, through its foreign minister, strongly condemns these heinous attacks that have struck the French capital causing so many victims,” Khaled al-Attiyah said in a statement sent to Reuters by the embassy in Paris.

“These acts, which target stability and security in France are against all human and moral values,” he added.

7:30 IST: 

Air France says it will maintain all flights to and from France and that it expects delay.

7:15 IST: 

Five of the assailants have been killed, Paris Public Prosecutor Francois Molins said on television.

7.00 IST: 

WTC to be lit to honor victims of Paris attacks 

Andrew Cuomo says the One World Trade Center spire will be lit blue, white and red in honor of dozens killed in the Paris attacks. Cuomo says the 408—foot (125—meter)spire will be illuminated Friday night and in the days to come. The governor says the act shows New York will stand with the people of France.

6:30 IST 

Paris Public Prosecutor says death toll could reach 120

The death toll from several attacks across Paris on Friday could reach over 120, and at least five of the assailants have been killed, Paris Public Prosecutor Francois Molins said on television

6:15 IST

World leaders express shock 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.” The German leader issued a statement saying her thoughts were with the victims “of the apparent terrorist attack.”

The Secretary-General of the NATO alliance says he is “deeply shocked by horrific Paris attacks.”

Jens Stoltenberg said in a Twitter message that “We stand together with the people of France. Terrorism will never defeat democracy.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning “the despicable terrorist attacks” in Paris and is demanding the immediate release of numerous hostages being held in the Bataclan theater.

5:38 IST: 

The telephone extension for the Indian Embassy in Paris is 0140507070 is now open

5:35 IST

Security forces launch assault 

Three police officials confirm that security forces have launched an assault on the Paris concert hall where hostages have been taken.

None of the officials could be named when discussing the ongoing operation, which several officials said involved dozens of hostages.

The Paris police prefecture told resident to remain home and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary.

Photo: Reuters

5:33 IST

Shocked, says Cameron 

British Prime Minister David Cameron says he is “shocked” by the Paris attacks and violence.

Cameron said on Twitter “Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help.”

5:26 IST

Borders closed

French President Francois Hollande says he is closing the country’s borders and declaring a state of emergency after several dozen people were killed in a series of unprecedented terrorist attacks. “It’s a horror,” he said.

5:12 IST

Gunfire heard from outside Paris concert hall 

Automatic gunfire and blasts have rung out from the area of a Paris music hall where police say people are being held hostage.

Scores of police are surrounding the Bataclan concert hall, and sirens are wailing throughout the neighborhood.

The gunfire began soon after French President Francois Hollande said security forces were launching an assault on one of several sites targeted in attacks Friday night around Paris.

5:03 IST

Obama condemns attack

U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters in Washington, called the attacks on Paris “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and vowed to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to justice.

4:50 IST

Announcement saves many

A stadium announcer made an announcement over the loudspeaker after the match, telling fans to avoid certain exits “due to events outside,” without elaborating.

At first that prompted some panic, but then the crowds just walked dazed, hugging each other and looking at their phones for the latest news of the violence.

Many appeared hesitant to leave amid the uncertainty after France’s deadliest attacks in decades.

Photo: Reuters

4:25 IST

IS hand suspected

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, some terrorism experts say the Islamic State group is likely responsible.

Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president of RAND Corp., said the extremist group is clearly the name at the top of everyone’s list.” He said this was because the tactic used “multiple attackers in coordinated attacks at multiple locations” echoed recommendations published in extremist group’s online magazine,

James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA in 1993—195 and now chancellor at the Institute of World Politics, also told the BBC he suspected the Islamic State because the coordinated nature of the attacks required government—style planning.

4:23 IST

Over 100 hostages

A Paris police official said there were at least 100 hostages in a Paris theater following shooting and explosions at two cites in the city.

Multiple officials, including one medical official, put the number of dead at between 35 to 40 people.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named according to police policy.

4:19 IST

Hollande holds emergency talks 

An official in Francois Hollande’s office told The Associated Press that the French president is meeting with top security officials in the Interior Ministry.

The official gave no other details.

03:42 IST

Explosion outside football stadium 

Also late yesterday, two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France stadium north of Paris during a France—Germany friendly football match.

A police official confirmed one explosion in a bar near the stadium. It was not known if there were casualties

An Associated Press reporter in the stadium last night heard two explosions loud enough to penetrate the sounds of cheering fans. Sirens were immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead.

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