TERROR in Paris: shootings, bombs and a hostage siege leave 120 dead

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Half a dozen terrifying coordinated attacks on the city of Paris have left scores of its citizens dead. 

Carried out by eight or more terrorists, it is believed that at least 120 people lost their lives during last night's tragedies, although no official death-toll has been confirmed. Another 200 have also been injured – 80 seriously.

This morning, terror group Isis formally claimed responsibility for the tragedy via its propaganda agency, the al-Hayat Media Centre.

The Department Of Foreign Affairs has said that one Irish citizen is among the injured.

President Francois Hollande has now called a state of emergency – the first declared by France since the end of World War II – in response. Border control has also been stringent in the aftermath and 1,500 soldiers have been deployed onto the capital's streets.

The metro is currently shut, and all schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and food markets in Paris are closed today.

Residents are still being urged to stay inside and a curfew may be issued again this evening. 

The largest single number of fatalities – officially 87 but possibly as many as 118 – took place at the Bataclan concert hall, located just a few hundred metres from the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices.

There, Californian rock band Eagles Of Death Metal (on Monday they performed at the Olympia in Dublin) were playing a gig to an audience of 1,500 when four men stormed the venue, taking more than 100 people hostage.

Although the band themselves survived unharmed, the terrorists subsequently began randomly shooting dozens of others, reloading their weapons three or four times during the attack.

And as armed French authorities surrounded the venue a little after midnight, five bomb blasts were heard: the attackers detonated their explosive vests just as police arrived.

"I found myself inside the concert hall when several armed individuals burst in, in the middle of the concert," Julien Pearce told The Guardian. 

"Two or three men, without masks, came in with Kalashnikov-type automatic weapons and began shooting blindly at the crowd."

Clearly shell-shocked, Mr Pearce went on to describe the attack as "extremely violent".

"They knew what they were doing," he added of the killers. "They were very young."

Another witness at the Bataclan described the situation to The Telegraph as "carnage". They stated that before opening fire, one of the gunmen had asked: "What are you doing in Syria? You're going to pay now."

 

Timeline:

  • The attacks had begun on Friday evening at 9.20pm local time (8.20pm Irish time) at two popular restaurants – Le Petit Cambodge, and Le Carillon – both on trendy Rue Bichat in the 10th arrondissement. Close-to a dozen were believed to have been killed.
  • Within minutes, another shooting then took place at La Casa Nostra, a nearby Italian restaurant – resulting in five fatalities.

 

 

  • Shortly afterwards, there were two suicide attacks and one bombing near the Stade de France where the national team were playing Germany in a friendly soccer match. At least five died.
  • La Belle Équipe, a restaurant on the Rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement was then attacked, with gunmen killing 18.
  • French SWAT forces storm the Bataclan, where dozens of hostages are being held. Although the siege concludes at 1am, at least 87 die – including four policemen. 

 

In January in Paris, a series of attacks that began at the Charlie Hebdo offices saw 17 people lose their lives.

Last night, Facebook kicked-off its Safety Check app, which allowed people in the area to tell their family and friends that they were safe. 

Meanwhile, several landmark buildings around the world – including the Empire State building in New York, the CN Tower in Toronto and Dublin's Conference Centre – lit up in the French colours of blue, red and white in a show of solidarity.

Flags globally are also flying at half mast as a sign of respect.

Most flights to and from Paris were this morning operating normally, although Aer Lingus says it is offering passengers the option to change their flight for free.

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