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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Source: FRANCE 24/YouTube

[Note: Authorities were reporting the death toll as 'at least 120' early on Saturday morning. The headline on this Liveblog was changed at 6.30am to reflect the latest figures. The rest of the information here has been left as it was in its last previous update. For the latest on the unfolding situation in France, click here]

PARIS HAS BEEN hit by a series of explosions and shooting incidents throughout the city tonight.

Police at least 118 people were killed during a hostage-taking at the Bataclan theatre, with at least 40 more dead in several separate attacks.

What we know so far:

  • Reports that at least 118 people have been killed in a siege at the Bataclan theatre.
  • Three explosions, including two suicide bombings, outside the Stade de France during France-Germany football match. President Francois Hollande evacuated.
  • Separate shootings at further locations in Paris.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has set up a phone line at 01-408-2000 for anyone worried about relatives or friends who not yet accounted for in Paris.

Any Irish in Paris can also contact the Embassy on +33144176700.

AFP quotes police sources as saying at least 18 people have been killed.

Paris police now say at least 26 people have been confirmed dead, and that a hostage-taking is under way at the Bataclan theatre on Boulevard Voltaire.

A witness at the scene of the hostage-taking at the Bataclan theatre says “There was blood everywhere,” adds that the attacker used a pump-action shotgun.

Le Parisien now reports that at least 30 people have been confirmed dead.

The Associated Press reports that 100 people have been taken hostage at the Bataclan theatre, and that the death toll has risen to 35.

Spectators at tonight’s France-Germany football match are reportedly taking refuge inside the Stade de France.

AP are reporting that 35 people have been confirmed dead, with 100 hostages taken at the Bataclan theatre on Boulevard Voltaire in Paris

bataclan Source: Google Maps

The deputy mayor of Paris says it’s too early to conclude that the attacks are coordinated acts of terror – but says that it “looks that way”.

For those who may have loved ones in Paris at present, this is the number to call for the French embassy there

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have both expressed their shock and offered their condolences after tonight’s attacks.

arasstatement

taoiseachstatement

The Europe 1 radio station is now reporting a further shooting at the busy and popular shopping centre at Les Halles, in central Paris, close to Town Hall, and just across the Seine river from Notre Dame cathedral.

There are various reports coming in of another shooting – this time at les Halles, a shopping centre in the centre of the city. These reports are still unconfirmed right now. Understandably, there is a lot of confusion around exactly what is happening in the city at present.

President Obama has called the attacks tonight an “attack on all humanity”.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that more emergency services have arrived on the scene at the Bataclan theatre in the last few minutes, where some 100 people are being held hostage.

Obama: “We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté, égalité and fraternité are not only values that the French people care so deeply about but they are values that we share. Those values are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or any hateful vision of those that perpetrated the crimes this evening.”

Police officers and rescue workers gather around a victim outside in the 10th arrondissement tonight.

France Paris Shootings Source: Jacques Brinon

Spectators invade the pitch of the Stade de France stadium

France Paris Shootings Source: Associated Press

Sky News reporting that the hostages in the Bataclan theatre are being held by a young gunman, who may have explosive devices with him

President Francois Hollande addresses the French people, declares a state of emergency and closure of France’s borders:
“I have also called the cabinet which is going to meet soon… This state of emergency will be decreed which means certain places will be closed. Travel may be banned and decisions may be taken about arrests throughout the whole of France”
“The second decision is that borders will be closed”
“My thoughts are with the numerous victims, for the injured, we have to show compassion and solidarity. We also have to show unity”

Hollande:

“France must be strong and great… We also have to call on everyone to be responsible. What the terrorists want is to make us afraid, to seize us with fear. There is something to be afraid of… But we are a nation that can immobilise and once again can overcome the terrorists”

Residents of Paris are offering refuge to anyone stranded in the city tonight, using the #PorteOuverte (Open Door) hashtag:

France Paris Shootings Scenes at the Stade de France as spectators invade the pitch at the end of tonight's match between Germany and France Source: AP/Press Association Images

One witness at the scene of the shooting near McDonald’s at around 9.30 pm says they passed the corner of Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi and Rue du Faubourg du Temple saw four or five motionless bodies, in a “sea of blood.”

lefig Source: Le Figaro

I saw four or five bodies littering the ground, in a sea of blood. The bodies, which were motionless, were on the ground under the terrace of the Le Phare brasserie…

Everyone was dazed and retreated into restaurants.

This video, from BFMTV, gives a sense of the extremely tense atmosphere on the streets of Paris tonight:

Source: BFMTV/YouTube

The three explosions outside the Stade de France earlier tonight have now been confirmed as one bombing and two suicide attacks.

Le Figaro reports that police may have launched an assault on the Bataclan theatre, where up to 100 people are being held hostage.

One witness reports hearing “four very large explosions followed by gunfire.”

Reports on Twitter suggest that taxis in Paris are bringing people to their destinations for free at present.

Statement from the Islamic Centre of Ireland condemns attack by “sick men with weapons and bombs.”

pasted_image_at_2015_11_13_11_26_pm

This video appears to indicate that one of the explosions at the Stade de France was audible inside the stadium.

Source: NeverSayYes/YouTube

One witness, apparently writing from inside the Bataclan hostage-taking described the scene as “carnage”, saying there were “bodies everywhere,” and victims were “cut down one by one.”

I am still at the Bataclan. First floor. Badly hurt. The attack was very quick. There are survivors inside. They slaughtered everyone, one by one…

fbparis1 Source: Benjamin Cazenoves via Facebook

Alive. Just cuts… Carnage… Bodies everywhere.

fbparis2 Source: Benjamin Cazenoves via Facebook

This Facebook post from Eagles of Death Metal saying they’re still trying to find out if all the members of the band and their crew are safe:

eodm

“We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew. Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation”

Citing emergency services sources, Le Parisien is now saying that as well as the 100 killed in the Bataclan theatre siege, at least 44 people are confirmed dead, at six different points of attack throughout Paris:

  • Bataclan theatre, Boulevard Voltaire:  At least 100 dead, seven seriously injured, four wounded
  • Stade de France, Saint-Denis: Four dead, 11 seriously injured, 39 wounded
  • Rue Bichat: 14 dead, 10 seriously injured, 10 wounded
  • Avenue de la Republique: Four dead, 11 seriously injured, 10 wounded
  • Charonne: 19 dead, 13 seriously injured, 10 wounded
  • Beaumarchais: Three seriously injured, four wounded

Despite the horror of the Bataclan theatre siege, which ended in at least 100 deaths, some of those attending tonight’s concert did manage to escape alive.

The Associated Press has this raw footage of survivors being brought to safety earlier.

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

Aer Lingus have been tweeting to the effect that their schedule in and out of Paris tomorrow remains unchanged at present.

aerling

Some details of what happened in side the Bataclan theatre this evening are starting to emerge.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for unity among the French people, and expressed support for Francois Hollande, saying “terrorists have declared war on France.”

In the face of exceptionally serious terrorist attacks, my first thoughts go to the victims of these barbaric acts, their families, their loved ones, and the security forces who are showing exemplary courage.

In these tragic circumstances, the solidarity of all French people is essential. It is in this spirit that I support the decision taken tonight to declare a state of emergency and close the borders.

The terrorists have declared war on France. Our response must demonstrate grit and determination at every moment.

sarkofb Source: Nicolas Sarkozy via Facebook

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who speaks fluent French, has addressed his condolences to the people of France, in their own language.

I join with the President of the United States in condemning the terrorist attacks in Paris.

This is an attack on humanity and all freedom-loving people.

The Procureur de la Republique (state prosecutor) in Paris has confirmed that five terrorists were killed over the course of the night.

More evidence that tonight’s horror has effectively placed the city of Paris on lockdown.

All district offices, schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools, outdoor food markets, will be closed “from tomorrow,” and all planned protests or demonstrations are cancelled. Only marriages will continue to be conducted.

The Associated Press has this raw footage of French security forces storming the Bataclan theatre, and a number of seemingly shocked and dazed hostages emerging to safety.

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

The state prosecutor for Paris, Francois Molins, has warned that accomplices of tonight’s attackers – five of whom were killed – may still be on the loose, AFP reports.

Here’s a selection of Saturday’s front pages, which are understandably dominated by tonight’s horror in Paris.

Le Figaro’s headline is “War right in the middle of Paris.”

Libération has, simply, “Carnage in Paris.”

The national edition of the Le Parisien newspaper has “Terrorist massacre in the middle of Paris.”

La Voix du Nord leads with “Horror in Paris.”

From the Associated Press:

The Paris police prefect said the attackers at the Bataclan theatre blew themselves up with suicide belts as police closed in, killing four people.

He said the gunmen first sprayed cafes outside the venue with machine gunfire, then went inside the concert hall and killed more before the assault by security forces.

The prefect, Michel Cadot, said the one set of attackers was at the stadium and at nearly the same time the second group attacked within the city.

Cadot said all the attackers are believed dead, although authorities are hunting for any possible accomplices.

Witnesses to the Bataclan theatre massacre have been telling Libération exactly what happened.

(Translated).

The killers arrived about half an hour after the concert started, through the main entrance. They cut down everyone who was at the bar.

Then, we saw some movement in the pit. It was like a gust of wind in wheat field. Everyone was falling down – dead, injured and alive.

Even if you never had any experience of war, you understood right away what was going on. We followed a security guard…

…Two of us made it to the roof, and one in a room where he waited for police. We waited on the roof for two hours, around 50 of us.

We felt trapped like rats. There was shooting going on everywhere.

U2 have cancelled their concert in Paris on Saturday night, expressing their “shock and disbelief” at tonight’s attacks, and saying they were “devastated” by the massacre during the concert at the Bataclan.

u2paris Source: U2

Our in-depth coverage will begin again early on Saturday. But for now, here is a selection of images from Paris, on what has been an almost unbelievably horrific and tragic Friday night.

France Paris Shootings Source: Jacques Brinon

France Paris Shooting Source: Associated Press

France Paris Shooting Source: Associated Press

France Paris Shootings Source: Associated Press

France Paris Shootings Source: Christophe Ena

France Paris Shootings Source: Kamil Zihnioglu

France Paris Shootings Source: Kamil Zihnioglu

 

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Dan MacGuill

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