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France: Paris attacks death toll rises to 129

15th Nov 2015
France: Paris attacks death toll rises to 129

PARIS (AA): The death toll from the deadly gun-and-bomb attacks in Paris has risen to 129, with 352 people injured — 99 of them in critical condition — said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins late Saturday.

Molins told a press briefing that the death toll from Friday’s attacks was “now 129, but will rise”.

“We can say at this stage of the investigation there were probably three coordinated teams of terrorists behind this barbaric act.

“We have to find who these people are, who their accomplices are, who ordered this, where they come from, and how they were financed.”

The Paris prosecutor said that three people were arrested on Saturday morning in connection with Paris attacks. One of them, who was arrested at France’s border with Belgium, rented one of the cars used in the attacks, Molins said.

The Belgian prosecutor’s office has opened an anti-terrorist investigation linked to the Paris attacks and police have made several arrests in an ongoing operation in a district of Brussels.

Belgian investigations are focusing on a car that had been hired in Belgium and was found near the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

– Attacks timeline

According to Molins, at 9:20 pm a suicide bomber activated an explosive vest near a gate of the sports stadium Stade de France in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, where President Francois Hollande and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier were watching an international friendly. They were immediately evacuated. The explosion killed the bomber and a passer-by.

Just five minutes afterwards, a gunman started shooting at clients sitting on the terraces of the “Le Carillon” bar and the “Petit Cambodge” restaurant, in the 10th district of Paris, killing 15 and severely injuring 10.

25 minutes later, a second suicide bomber detonated a bomb, killing himself, outside the Stade de France.

Molins said a Syrian passport was found on one of the suicide bombers. It is of a Syrian national born in 1990, unknown to French intelligence services.

Gunmen opened fire in front of the bar “A La Bonne Biere” at 9:32 p.m., in the 11th district, killing five people and severely injuring eight.

Four minutes later, another gunmen killed 19 people sitting on the terrace of the restaurant “La Belle Equipe” in nearby rue de Charonne. Nine people were also severely injured.

Around 9:40 p.m. a suicide bomber killed himself inside the restaurant “Le Comptoir Voltaire” on boulevard Voltaire, also in the 11th district, injuring one person severely.

Simultaneously, a car stopped in front of the nearby Bataclan concert hall. Several gunmen entered the theatre during a heavy rock concert by the US band Eagles of Death Metal and shot indiscriminately at the crowd, killing around 89 people and wounding several others.

The attackers at Bataclan concert hall mentioned Syria and Iraq during siege. One of them was a French national, born in the Paris suburb of Courcouronnes in 1985, with a criminal record between 2004 and 2006.

Intelligence services reported that he was “radicalized” in 2010.

At 9:53 p.m., a third suicide bomber killed himself near the Stade de France.

Police forces stormed the Bataclan concert hall on early hours of Saturday (12:20 a.m.) in a bid to free the hostages. Three of the attackers were killed: one was shot and the other two killed themselves using their explosive vests.

Molins said that “seven terrorists were killed in total,” all had same explosive vests designed to kill most number of people.

– ‘We are at war’

“What I want to tell the French people is that we are at war,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told French television TF1.

“We are at war…against a very well organized enemy. And we will win his war.”

Valls said France will continue strikes in Syria against Daesh.

“Because we are at war, we take exceptional measures. We will strike them in France but also in Syria and Iraq, and we will respond at the same level as these attacks with determination and the will to destroy,” he said.

“We will continue our operations in Syria. The enemy is Daesh.”

The French premier said his country has no intentions to cancel the UN climate change talks, set to be held in Paris in two weeks, nor the local elections next December.

“I understand that our people are afraid,” Valls repeated twice. “But so far, it is out of question to cancel the climate conference late November in Paris or the regional elections in December.”

“The COP21 will take place because it is a key appointment for humanity. This is an opportunity for all leaders of the world to come together and show their solidarity with France,” he said.

“No democratic country affected by a terrorist attack has ever questioned the elections, because it would prove terrorists right. We will live with this threat, but we will be strong because we are gathered around our values.

“The threats are going to last: it is a matter of months, perhaps years. The French people must be strong. ”

– State of emergency

President Hollande said Friday’s attacks were carried out by members of the Daesh terrorist organization, which later reportedly claimed responsibility.

Hollande announced on Friday night the state of emergency and closure of French borders.

A total of 1,500 French troops have been deployed in various parts of the capital, which remains tense.

Earlier, the French Interior Ministry launched a website to send testimonies and report missing people. Internet users launched an online campaign with the hashtag #rechercheParis (searchParis) in a bid to locate missing friends and family members.

The French government is calling on citizens to provide any information they have about the attacks by calling 197.

Hospitals across Paris are sending appeals for blood donors for treatment of injured people.

Police have banned all demonstrations in the Paris region until Thursday, Paris police chief Michel Cadot has said, as authorities cannot “provide security for specific marches or gatherings”.

Police said Parisian cinemas, the Louvre museum, and shopping centers are closed indefinitely, and grocery shops would remain closed for a week.

Disneyland Paris was closed. The Eiffel Tower too will be closed indefinitely following the wave of deadly attacks in Paris, the iconic landmark’s operator said.

 

[Photo above: People place tributes to the victims of the attacks in and around Paris, at the Place de la Republique square in Paris, on November 14, 2015. Photographer: Amine Landoulsi/AA]

 

 

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: The National Portrait Gallery lit up in the colours of the French national flag during a vigil to pay respect to the victims of France terror attacks, at Trafalgar Square, London on November 14, 2015. At least 129 people were killed and 352 others injured -- 99 of them in critical condition -- after the terror attacks in Paris on 13 November. (Tayfun Salcı - Anadolu Agency)

[Photo: The National Portrait Gallery lit up in the colours of the French national flag during a vigil to pay respect to the victims of France terror attacks, at Trafalgar Square, London on November 14, 2015. Photographer: Hajer M’tırı/Anadolu Agency]

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