Terror in Paris: What we know so far
Evan Perez, Paul Armstrong, Don Melvin and Pat St.Claire, CNN Newswire
(CNN) — Parisians woke up Saturday to a full realization of the horror wrought by the terrorist attacks of the previous evening — violence deadlier than anything Paris has experienced since World War II.
No place, it seemed was safe. The West’s counterterrorism strategy appeared in tatters. And coming just 10 months after the attack on the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, where 12 people were killed, one had to wonder whether France had become a particular target.
French President Francois Hollande said Saturday that ISIS was responsible for Friday’s series of deadly attacks. He called the coordinated attacks “an act of war.”
And ISIS claimed responsibility in an online statement. The statement said eight ISIS militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked precisely selected targets in the French capital.
It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Europe since the Madrid train bombings of 2004, in which 191 people died. And it came less than two weeks after after a Russian plane crashed in Sinai — downed, intelligence officials believe, by a terrorist bomb — killing all 224 people aboard.
Some intelligence officials are also blaming that act of terrorism on ISIS, which seems to be eclipsing al Qaeda as the most significant global terrorist threat..
Here is what we know so far:
— Coordinated attacks took place in six locations throughout Paris late Friday, including a theater, the Stade de France, and at least two restaurants.
— The Paris Police Prefecture said the toll was at least 128. The spokesman said 180 people had been injured, 99 of whom were in critical condition. The death toll is expected to rise significantly, said Paris’ Deputy Mayor, Patrick Klugman.
— Eight terrorists died, seven of them in suicide bombings.
— We do not know if other attackers are at large. Police are searching for any possible attackers or accomplices.
— French media, citing law enforcement sources, reported that a Syrian passport was found on of the bodies of the attackers, and that verification was in progress. The finding did not necessarily mean the person was Syrian.
— President Francois Hollande was at Stade de France, where France was hosting Germany in a soccer friendly. Hollande was evacuated and has vowed a ruthless response to the attacks.
Where were the attacks?
Bataclan concert hall
— At least 112 people were killed here, according to the French interior ministry, though the Paris prosecutor said the number was “around 80.”
— Police stormed the theater in a rescue operation. Four attackers were killed, three of whom were wearing explosive belts.
— An U.S. band, “Eagles of Death Metal,” a pop alternative group from Palm Desert, California, had been scheduled to play.
— A witness told Radio France the attackers entered firing pump rifles and shouting “Allah akbar.”
— The “scale and complexity” of the Paris attacks “surprised everyone,” said Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at Kings College London.
Terrorism experts had expected some kind of attack, but did not think ISIS would be able to carry off something on this scale.
Stade de France
— Four people were killed outside the sports stadium in Saint-Denis, a suburb to the north of Paris.
— France was playing Germany in a soccer match at the time.
— A witness, Gabriel Haddad, told CNN two explosions could be heard in the background during the game.
— One of the explosions appeared to be a suicide bombing, a Western intelligence source receiving direct intelligence from the scene told CNN’s Deborah Feyerick.
— A dismembered body, consistent with the aftermath of an explosion from that type of device, was found at the scene, the source said.
— At least 14 people were killed at the site of the restaurant Le Petit Cambodge located on Rue Bichat, in the 10th district of Paris.
— At least 19 people were killed outside a bar called La Belle Equipe on Rue de Charonne in the 11th district of Paris.
— Four people died on Avenue de la Republique, in the 10th district of Paris.
The scene in Paris
— President Hollande said Friday that a state of emergency was being put in place in Paris.
— French authorities say they have tightened border controls to prevent potential attackers from entering, and to capture anyone involved in attacks.
— French Interior Minister Bernard Cazaneuve said border controls were tightened Friday, and the gendarmerie paramilitary police are on heightened alert. French security forces have been increased across France as part of the ongoing state of emergency, Cazeneuve announced following a meeting with President Hollande at the Elysee Palace.
Hollande ordered 1,500 military troops to join the security forces currently deployed. The troops will secure locations that are “particularly strategic,” and will patrol in the heart of Paris, said Cazeneuve.
— At least two Belgians have been identified among the dead, Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Didier Vanderhasselt said, saying the French Foreign Ministry had communicated the information to Belgium. He said the number could rise.
— Three different U.S. officials tell CNN an American died in the Paris attacks. Two officials say the victim was female and that she was killed in one of the restaurant attacks.
— At least two Americans are among the injured, a number that is expected to rise, according to two U.S. officials who spoke to CNN. A male American is recovering from a leg injury that is not considered life-threatening. A female American is also among the injured, though the extent of her injuries is not currently known. It’s not clear if the woman is the same American who is known to have died in the attacks.
— British Prime Minister David Cameron said the nation must be “prepared for British casualties.” He did not say for certain that British citizens were among the dead.
— A source close to the investigation tells CNN that officials found passports on two of the eight attackers. One of the passports was Syrian the other Egyptian. The source told CNN that “there is a strong assumption that these passports are fake.”
The Syrian passport belonged to a person who had been processed on the Greek island of Leros, Greece’s Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection, Nikos Toskas said in a statement Saturday. But ministry officials said they are not sure whether the holder of the passport was the person who carried out the attacks. CNN also cannot independently verify that the passport found was authentic or that it belonged to one of the attackers.
— Belgian authorities say a number of arrests have been made following raids conducted in a Brussels suburb connected to the Paris attacks. The raids took place in Molenbeek, on the outskirts of Brussels, said justice ministry spokeswoman Sieghild Lacoere. She also told CNN that a car rented in Brussels was found near one of the sites of the attacks in France and “that’s what triggered the raids”.
— U.S. President Barack Obama pledged solidarity with France, saying, “We’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
— Pope Francis condemned the killings, saying they were a part of the “piecemeal Third World War.” “There is no religious or human justification for it,” he said in a telephone interview with TV2000, the television network of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
— Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles sent messages of sympathy to France.
— A U.S. government official said that, at the moment, there is no credible or specific threat to the United States.
— American intelligence agencies are looking at all signals intelligence, including communications intercepts, for any indication that there had been advance planning or coordination, according to a U.S. intelligence official.
— Cameron convened a meeting of the emergency response committee. The threat level in the United Kingtom is at “severe,” meaning a militant attack is considered highly likely.
— Russian leader Vladimir Putin sent condolences to President Hollande and the people of France.
— Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to Syrian media, said Western support of insurgents in Syria had fueled an “expansion of terror” abroad.
— The Netherlands is increasing border security, especially on roads to and from France, according to a spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice. Jean Fransman told CNN extra personnel have been deployed and security at airports has been reinforced.
— The EU issued a statement, reading in part: “The European Union is deeply shocked and in mourning after the terrorist attacks in Paris. It is an attack against us all. We will face this threat together with all necessary means and ruthless determination.”
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Vienna for a round of diplomatic talks on Syria, denounced the attacks on Paris calling France “America’s oldest ally.” Delivering his comments in French, Kerry said, “The bond our nations share today is both visceral and unshakable.” He noted that, for him, the attacks also are personal. “I am one of many Americans with deep connections to France and immediate family living in and around Paris,” he said.
— Egyptian President El Sisi called President Hollande to offer condolences.
— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that state agencies are on heightened alert, taking security precautions and using new surveillance measures to protect the state.
— London monuments, including the London Eye, Tower Bridge and Wembley Stadium ,will light up in blue, white and red in solidarity with Paris Saturday night, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office. The French flag, lowered to half-staff, is currently flying at his Downing Street office alongside the Union Jack, the office said in a statement.
— New York’s One World Trade Center will be lit up blue, white and red Saturday in support of Paris, according to Cuomo’s office.