Friday evening wasn’t the best in the history of France as unknown gunmen stormed six locations simultaneously and brutally killed 129 people, with the most death occurring at Paris’ Le Bataclan concert hall where American blues rock band Eagles of Death Metal was playing in a hall packed full of over 1,500 people – according to the Huffington Post.
Over 100 hostages were also taken by the attackers, and authorities report the hostages were all later killed inside a hall. A total of 110 bodies were counted.
A witness identified only as Jasmine said: “I saw two madmen arrive and start shooting at everyone … all the bodies fell,” she said. “To survive, I had to go over the bodies. Then I got to the bathroom. One of them shot me in the ankle. I’ve never seen so many dead people around me in my life. I’m traumatized.”
There were multiple gunfire and several bombs were detonated by the attackers. Although forensic teams are currently examining the slain bodies for clues about the attack, spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office, Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, disclosed that eight terrorists died in the attacks, and that seven of them blew up themselves with explosive belts.
She however pointed out that other terrorists linked to the attacks may still be at large and need to be fished out.
Yesterday’s bloody attack in Paris was the deadliest since the end of World War II, and it came just 11 months after the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo attack in June in which 16 people were killed; including another attack at a kosher grocery store.
The attackers remain a mystery, nothing is known yet about their motives, nationalities, or even their exact number. But many people suspect the Muslim radical group Islamic State or ISIS, since they are known to target Jewish and France sites.
USA Today wrote that French President Francois Hollande was at the Bataclan theatre on Saturday morning, and he declared his resolve to be ruthless in dealing with the attackers and others that remained at large.
“We want to be here, amid those who saw these atrocious things,” Hollande said outside Le Bataclan. “We will be ruthless, because when terrorists are capable of carrying out such atrocities, France needs to be unified even if today it is in mourning in the wake of this tragedy that is an abomination and barbaric.”
And then later on national television, President Hollande added that: “Once again we are under attack. The terrorists want to scare us and instill fear. There are reasons to be afraid, but the nation knows how to defend itself and mobilize its forces and how to defeat the terrorists.”
US President Obama called Hollande from Washington to offer his condolences and the support of the United States in routing the extremists. He did not want to speculate on what may be behind the attacks.
ABC News reported that three bombs had gone off at target spots near the national stadium Stade de France where Hollande was watching a football game between France and Germany. Several gunshots had spoilt the night at a cool Paris neighborhood where trendy cafes were hosting customers to a balmy Friday night. Another suicide bomb went off at the Boulevard Voltaire close to a music hall, and then the Bataclan attack.
“The big question on everyone’s mind is, were these attackers, if they turn out to be connected to one of the (ISIS) groups in Syria, were they homegrown terrorists or were they returning fighters from having served” with the Islamic State group, said Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president of the Washington-based RAND Corporation. “That will be a huge question.”
At least 1,500 French soldiers have now been deployed to guard French facilities; and schools and universities have been ordered closed in the aftermath of the Friday attacks.