The Nation of France is on lockdown tonight, following breaking and fluid news that Paris had been attacked. Citizens who were attacked in Paris were shot. CNN reports that initially 18 people were reported to have been shot by at least three different attackers. The gunmen reportedly used AK-47 automatic weapons. The number of victims and incidents increased to six separate instances of people being attacked in Paris.
In addition to citizens being attacked with guns while walking the streets of Paris today, at least three separate explosions took place at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis late in the afternoon of Friday the 13th. There is also a hostage situation ongoing at Bataclan concert hall, where reports indicate six to eight armed gunman fired on police and took over the venue by force.
French President Francois Hollande was at the Stade de France, watching a friendly soccer match between France and Germany when the initial explosions were reported. Hollande was evacuated from the stadium at halftime and relocated to a more secure location following the realization that Paris (and France itself) were being attacked.
Since the story of Paris being attacked initially broke, Hollande declared a state of emergency due to what have been determined to be terrorist attacks. This state of emergency effectively shut down the country’s borders.
“We have to show compassion and solidarity and we also have to show unity and keep our cool. France must be strong and great.”
In addition to responding to being attacked by closing the borders, Paris police have encouraged citizens to remain indoors unless absolutely necessary. Currently, the number confirmed to be dead has risen from the preliminary 18 to 60. Authorities in Paris and throughout France are doing their best to ensure that the populous remains informed, but first and foremost safe. They are hoping that by staying in their homes (or where ever they may be, so long as they’re secure) will potentially prevent further innocents from being attacked.
The French government has convened a terrorism task force to investigate the highly-coordinated Paris attacks. In these early stages, with the situation still ongoing, no one has come forward to claim responsibility for the needless violence. ISIS, however, did turn to Twitter to express their joy that Paris has been attacked.
U.S. authorities have reported that there has been no credible or substantial threat to the U.S. in the wake of Paris being so brutally attacked, but that hasn’t stopped reports of increased security in New York and Washington D.C. airports. The authorities in Paris have also warned that several subway lines have been impacted by the events unfolding in the area, and delays are not just possible, but likely.
This ongoing situation in France, where hundreds may have been attacked and at least several dozen have lost their lives, is eerily reminiscent of the Charlie Hebdo in January of this year. During that round of attacks, perpetuated by Islamic radicals, terrorists took 20 lives, reportedly because the satirists at Charlie Hebdo had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad for their publication.
Tensions in Paris and France have remained high in the interim, with smaller-scale terror attacks attempted. The timing of today’s Paris attacks, Friday the 13th, in conjunction with the political turmoil in the nation and region (largely due to the Syrian refugee crisis), has made this series of Paris attacks unprecedented.
The world is sending its support, love and grief to the citizens of Paris via #ParisAttacks on Twitter. We can only hope that the worst of the carnage is over and the people of Paris can be left to sort out the aftermath and heal in peace.
Deseret News is now reporting that the horrific siege of the Bataclan concert hall may have come to an end, with some hostages being freed and gunmen with ties to ISIS being taken into custody. Initial reports of the scene inside the Bataclan are horrifying and hard to come to terms with, beginning with up to 100 hostages who were reportedly being executed one-by-one. Even now, with the true toll of the Paris attacks still unknown, the world’s heart goes out to all of those who were attacked, or impacted by the attacks.
**Update: CNN is now reporting the death toll to be over 150. The news agency also reports that five of the gunman who attacked in Paris have been “neutralized” with more suspected to be loose in the area.**
[Image Courtesy of Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images]