Terror in Paris: What we know so far
By Jethro Mullen, Paul Armstrong and Don Melvin, CNN |
Investigations into the series of terrorist attacks that killed more than 120 people in Paris are moving forward, with people taken into custody and one of the gun-wielding suicide bombers identified.
French President Francois Hollande has blamed the Islamic extremist group ISIS for the wave of violence Friday that put parts of Paris under siege. He called the coordinated attacks on restaurants, bars, a concert hall and a sports stadium “an act of war.”
ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacres in a statement that said eight of its militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked selected targets across the city.
It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Europe since the Madrid train bombings of 2004, in which 191 people died.
Here is what we know so far:
— Three teams of terrorists staged coordinated attacks at six locations throughout Paris late Friday, including a concert hall, the Stade de France and at least two restaurants, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Saturday.
— Molins said Saturday that at least 129 people were killed and 352 wounded in the attacks. Ninety-nine of the wounded are reported to be in a very serious condition, he said
— Molins said seven terrorists were killed, one fewer than the number ISIS claimed were involved.
— A black Seat car believed to have been used by gunmen in the restaurant attacks has been found in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office said Sunday.
— The discovery raises the possibility that at least one attacker drove the car to the Montreuil and remains at large. Police say they are searching for any possible attackers or accomplices.
— “The threat is still going on. The risk is still very high, and nothing says this terror sequence is over yet,” Paris Deputy Mayor Paul Klugman said.
Where were the attacks?
Bataclan concert hall
— This was the deadliest site, with at least 89 people killed, Molins said.
–Three attackers with assault rifles arrived in a car, entered the concert venue and opened fire. They took audience members hostage and regrouped them in front of the stage, which is why most of the victims were found there, Molins said. The attackers talked about Syria and Iraq during a brief address.
— Police stormed the theater in a rescue operation. The three attackers were killed: two by detonating suicide belts and one by police gunfire and his suicide belt.
— Eagles of Death Metal, a blues rock band from Palm Desert, California, had been performing.
— A witness told Radio France that the attackers entered firing pump rifles and shouting “Allah akbar.”
Stade de France
— Four people were killed outside the sports stadium in Saint-Denis, a suburb north of Paris: three suicide bombers and a man who had been walking by, Molins said.
— France was playing Germany in a soccer match at the time.
— A witness, Gabriel Haddad, said two explosions could be heard in the background during the game. Molins said three explosions occurred over 32 minutes outside the stadium: two immediately outside the stadium and one 400 meters away.
— President Hollande was at the stadium and among those who were evacuated following the attacks.
Restaurants, cafes, bars
— Fifteen people were killed as attackers opened fire at the intersection of rue Alibert and rue Bichat, in the 10th district of Paris near the Canal Saint Martin. Many of the victims were gathered at Le Petit Cambodge, a restaurant, and Le Carillon, a bar, that are situated on either side of rue Bichat.
— About seven minutes later, five people were killed in another shooting outside Cafe Bonne Biere on the corner of rue de la Fontaine au Roi and rue Faubourg du Temple in the 11th district of Paris.
— Around four minutes after that, attackers opened fire with assault weapons on the restaurant La Belle Equipe on rue de Charonne, also in the 11th district. Nineteen people were killed in that shooting.
— After four minutes more, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the cafe Comptoir Voltaire on boulevard Voltaire. Other than the attacker, nobody else was killed, but one person was critically wounded.
— The four attacks in the space of about 15 minutes are believed to have been the work of one team of assailants. The car they used was the black Seat that was later found in Montreuil.
The scene in Paris
— Hollande has declared a state of emergency across France, which lets authorities limit people’s movements and impose zones of security and protection.
— The French government says its has also tightened border controls to prevent potential attackers from entering and to capture anyone involved in the attacks.
— French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve the gendarmerie paramilitary police are on heightened alert and security forces have been increased across France.
— 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, Cazeneuve said.
–Many shops, public buildings and tourist attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, were closed in Paris on Saturday.
— Despite the security measures and concerns about possible attackers still at large, many Parisians still ventured out into the streets Saturday, some venting their anger at the attackers and mourning the victims.
— Valentin Ribet, a Parisian lawyer and graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, has been identified as one of the victims of the atacks.
— A 23-year-old student from California State University, Long Beach, was also killed in the attacks. Nohemi Gonzalez from El Monte, California, was a junior studying design, according to a statement from Cal State Long Beach.
— 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.
— At least two Belgians have been identified among the dead. Belgian Foreign Ministry spokesman Didier Vanderhasselt said the number could rise.
— The British Foreign Office said a British citizen, Nick Alexander, was killed at the Bataclan concert venue.
— Three Chilean citizens died in the Paris attacks, including two relatives of Chilean Ambassador to Mexico Ricardo Nunez, according to the Chilean Foreign Ministry. The victims were identified as Patricia San Martin and her daughter, Elsa Veronique Delplace San Martin, Nunez’s niece and grandniece; and Luis Felipe Zschoche Valle, a musician who had lived in Paris for eight years, the foreign ministry said.
— One of the suicide bombers has been identified as Ismael Omar Mostefai, said Jean-Pierre Gorges, a French lawmaker who is also the mayor of the town of Chartres. Mostefai lived in Chartres at least until 2012, Gorges said via Facebook.
— Six people, all relatives of Mostefai, have been detained, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Sunday. It is common practice in criminal cases in France to place family members in custody. Mostefai’s relatives have been neither charged nor arrested.
— A man who rented a Volkswagen Polo that was left outside the Bataclan was intercepted Saturday at the Belgian border, French authorities said. He is a French citizen living in Belgium and was accompanied by two other people, Molins said. When stopped, he was not driving a car used in the attacks.
— In Belgium, police arrested a number of people in raids Saturday in a Brussels suburb, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Sieghild Lacoere said. A car rented in Brussels was found near one of the sites of the Paris attacks, which prompted the raids, Lacoere said.
— A source close to the investigation told CNN that officials found passports on two of the eight attackers. One of the passports was of a 25-year-old Syrian man, the other of an Egyptian. The source said there is “a strong assumption” that the passports are fake.
–The Syrian passport belonged to a person who had been processed on the Greek island of Leros, Greek 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.
Reactions around the globe
— U.S. President Barack Obama pledged solidarity with France, saying, “We’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
— A U.S. government official said that at the moment, there is no credible or specific threat to the United States.
— 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.
— British Prime Minister David Cameron convened a meeting of the emergency response committee. The threat level in the United Kingdom is at “severe,” meaning a militant attack is considered highly likely.
— Russian leader Vladimir Putin sent condolences to Hollande and the people of France.
— 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 said extra personnel have been deployed and security at airports has been reinforced.
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “stands shoulder to shoulder to France in this common battle against radical Islamic terrorism.” He has offered his nation’s security and intelligence forces to France and other European nations, should they need assistance.
— Monuments around the world were lit up in blue, white and red in solidarity with Paris. In London, the monuments included the London Eye, Tower Bridge and Wembley Stadium. The French flag, lowered to half-staff, is flying at Cameron’s Downing Street office alongside the Union Flag, the office said.