Saturday, November 14, 2015

Terrorism Rocks Paris: The Latest

Terrorist attacks have swept through Paris tonight, with over 120 killed and 200 seriously injured.   It has been difficult to find a comprehensive timeline/account of the separate attacks, but putting together disparate reports from the BBC, the Mirror, the Telegraph (all U.K.), MSNBC, the New York Times and the Irish Times, we have the following:

9pm: In the 10th arrondissement, customers at the Carillon bar and restaurant (on rue Alibert) heard what they assumed were the sounds of firecrackers. Witnesses said a man then appeared and began firing at patrons before heading across the street to the Petit Cambodge restaurant and shooting at patrons there. 14 people reportedly were killed; 11 seriously wounded

Minutes later, a shooting was reported at the nearby Canal St Martin. Reports said a car was left riddled with bullets and a motorbike abandoned on the ground.

Within the hour, gun shots were also fired at La Casa Nostra pizzeria on rue de la Fontaine au Roi (near the Place de la Republique square in the 10th arrondissement).  at least 4 were killed.

In the 11th arrondissement, two gunman opened fire on diners at La Belle Equipe cafe on Rue de Charonne, resulting in at least 18 people killed and 14 injured.  "It lasted at least three minutes," one witness said. "Then they got back in their car and headed towards Charonne station."

Sometime between 9:30-9:50 pm:  Two explosions were heard near the Stade de France, where Francois Hollande was watching France play Germany in an international football match.  Hollande was rushed to safety, and amazingly, the match continued to its conclusion.  French police later confirmed two suicide attacks took place outside two stadium gates and one bombing near a McDonald's.  Spectators were unaware of the full extent of the incident until they exited the stadium at the conclusion of the match.  At least four people were believed to have died in these attacks.

Around 10 pm:  Four gunmen opened fire on cafes outside the Bataclan theater (Boulevard Voltaire, just south of the 10th arrondissement), then stormed the concert hall.  Between 60 and 100 people were initially held hostage.  Just before midnight, security forces closed in-- the attackers then threw explosives at the hostages.  The siege ended when three of the gunmen blew themselves up with suicide belts and the fourth was shot dead. a An official characterized the scene inside the theater as "carnage", with over 100 people reported killed.

During the theater attack (around 11pm), President Francois Hollande placed the whole of France under a state of emergency and announced that the country’s borders had been closed.

After 2 am local time, French police announced that they believed all of the attackers involved in the shootings and bombings in Paris were dead.  According to police sources, a total of eight terrorists have been killed: four killed inside the Bataclan theater, three outside the stadium and one shot near a restaurant  in the 10th arrondissement. There are conflicting reports on this last attacker-- with some saying that he blew himself up a short distance away from the Place de la Republique on Boulevard Voltaire   The second shooter seen at Rue de Charonne is unaccounted for.

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