A series of shootings and bombings has occurred in Paris at multiple locations, with reports that as many as 150 are dead. The New York Times has a map showing the known attack sites thus far:
- Shootings and hostages taken at Bataclan Concert Hall
- Shooting at Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant
- Shooting at La Belle Equipe, a restaurant and bar
- Explosion outside of Stade de France during a soccer match
A gunman at the Bataclan Concert Hall reportedly shouted “It’s for Syria” and “Allahu Akbar!” meaning, “God is [the] greatest” in Arabic. The shooters in the concert hall reportedly killed those inside one by one, execution style.
France responded by closing it’s borders and implementing a curfew in Paris, the first since 1944 during World War II.
France has the highest Muslim population among European Union member countries, at about 7.5% of it’s population, or about 4.7 million. The country has agreed to take in 24,000 Syrian refugees fleeing civil war in their home country. While many have been quick to blame refugees, one Dan Holloway took to Twitter to say “To people blaming refugees for attacks in Paris tonight. Do you not realise these are the people the refugees are trying to run away from..?”
Within hours of the Paris attacks, fire broke out at the Calais Migrant Camp though it’s not known if it is related to the attacks.
President Obama was quick to pledge support for France, offering “whatever assistance” necessary in response to the attacks. He said:
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.”
It is too early to tell what exactly that will mean, but his comments are reminiscent of President Bush’s address following the 9/11 terrorist attacks: “I’ve directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” While 9/11 was the pretext for prolonged invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama promised last week that he wouldn’t make the same move in Syria saying “I’ve been consistent throughout that we are not going to be fighting like we did in Iraq with battalions and occupations. That doesn’t solve the problem.”
The attacks in France are reminiscent of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which consisted of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across the city over four days. The January 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting also followed a similar pattern on a smaller scale, with armed gunmen committing a massacre at the weekly newspaper in Paris.
The latest report is that 8 extremists are dead, seven of which died in suicide bombings.