14 Nov, 2015
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French capital Paris was rocked by a huge and unprecedented terrorist attack on 13 and 14 November 2015 in which 128 persons were killed and over 250 were injured. Overall three separate explosions and six shootings were reported across Paris city. The attacks started at around 9:15 pm (local time) on 13 November and continued till early hours of 14 November.
Bataclan Theatre: Main target of attack
The famous Bataclan Theatre, situated in Boulevard Voltaire, was the most prominent target of this attack. 87 people were reported killed after gunmen burst into the concert hall of this theatre and took dozens hostage. The siege ended in early hours of 14 November (local time) when security forces stormed the building. The American rock band ‘Eagles of Death Metal’ were playing a sold-out concert to about 1500 guests at the Bataclan at the time of this attack. The attackers reportedly forced people to lie on the floor and then sprayed them with bullets, shooting at anyone who tried to flee.
Stade de France:
Two explosions were also reported near Paris’ most prominent football stadium – the Stade de France. At that time a friendly football match between hosts France and Germany was being played at the stadium, which is on the northern fringe of Paris. President François Hollande and German Foreign Minister were at the stadium when two bombs were detonated outside. The French President and German Foreign Minister were evacuated from the scene quickly. Over 80,000 spectators were also in the stadium at the time of these explosions. It is worth mentioning that this stadium had staged the final of the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Three restaurant establishments named La Belle Équipe, Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge (‘Little Cambodia) were the other three prominent venues of gun firing by terrorists. While around 18 persons were killed at firing on La Belle Équipe, situated on the rue de Charonne, four to eleven persons were reported killed in Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge. Both these restaurants are situated near the famous Canal Saint-Martin.
Three of the militants blew up their explosive vests as police stormed the theatre. French security forces later announced that all 8 terrorists involved in the attack were killed.
IS claims responsibility
The identity of the attackers was not confirmed after many hours of the attack. However, witnesses claimed that the attackers at the Bataclan theatre shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest”) and blamed France’s military intervention in Syria as they sprayed bullets into the crowd.
Later on 14 November 2015 Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack saying France has been attacked for its blunder of attacking IS establishments in Syria.
Emergency declared in France
French President François Hollande declared a state of emergency across the entire country. He also cancelled his trip to the 2015 G-20 Summit to be held at Antalya (Turkey) because of the attacks, instead sending Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Michel Sapin as his representatives.
In response to the attacks, France was put under a nation-wide state of emergency for the first time since the end of the Second World War, borders were temporarily closed, and 1,500 soldiers were called in to help the police maintain order in Paris. A curfew was thus imposed in Paris for the first time since Second World War. France has been on high alert since the attacks in January 2015 against ‘Charlie Hebdo’ and a Jewish supermarket that left 17 dead.
Photo Courtesy : BBC.com
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