Last night the world watched in horror as a series of coordinated attacks were carried out throughout the city of lights, Paris. Setting off a night of panic and confusion, the vicious attacks killed 127 people, and wounded almost 180. At least 80 victims are in critical condition at Paris area hospitals.
France declared a national state of emergency, and tightened its borders. The Eiffel Tower is closed indefinitely, as police conduct their investigation. Vowing to strike back, French President Francois Hollande called the attackers “barbarians” and the horrific carnage “an act of war.”
Six places were targeted, almost simultaneously shortly after 9pm (local Paris time). According to the New York Daily News, the attacks began when three suicide bombs targeted spots around the national Stade de France stadium, where 70,000 fans were watching France play Germany. Around the same time, attackers opened fire inside several trendy cafes in the 10th district of Paris. Next the attackers stormed a concert hall, the Bataclan, where the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was playing. The attackers opened fire on the panicked audience and took members hostage.
All of the attackers were killed. Seven of them blew themselves up, and one was killed by gunfire. The organizers of this attack are still at large.
ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the massacres, calling them “the first of the storms.” In a statement released on Saturday, ISIS stated that France “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State.”
The statement goes on to say, “the stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders' campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes that were of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris.”
The New York Daily News also reports that France is part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been striking the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq for the past year, and has been targeted by jihadists in the past because of its perceived tolerance of speech deemed offensive to Islam.
Cities around the world lit their buildings in red, white and blue in support of the city of Paris after the savage attacks, while the Eiffel Tower, sadly went dark.
President Barack Obama on Friday condemned the Paris terror attacks, calling it an "outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians" and pledging the U.S. government's assistance to France, CNN reports.
During an interview with TG2000 television, Pope Francis said that he was “shaken,” and did not “understand these things, done by human beings.” He says, “There cannot be justification, religious or human. It’s inhuman.”
Our hearts and our prayers go out to the people of France in the wake of this tragedy.