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At Least 18 Dead In Series Of Attacks In Paris

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At least 18 people have died in a series of attacks in central Paris. Police say there was a shooting at a bar and hostages are being held at a concert hall. There are also reports of explosions near the French National Stadium, where France was playing Germany in a soccer match. We're joined by NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris. And Eleanor, begin with the latest information that you have.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Hi, Audie. Well, yes, like you said, the latest information is that Paris Prefecture of Police has confirmed that 18 people are dead, but French news channels are saying there may be as many as 30 people dead. There were three shootouts around the city - one in front of a restaurant, one in a concert hall and there's a hostage situation - hostage-taking situation that is still unfolding there. And then there were explosions at the National Stadium, which is right outside the city in the suburbs where France was playing Germany. Right now, French President Francois Hollande is in a crisis meeting with the prime minister and the interior minister, and people are saying that Paris is under attack again.

CORNISH: And what does this - can you tell us a little bit more about that hostage situation in particular reported at the concert hall?

BEARDSLEY: Right, well Audie, no news organizations have crews out yet. We're just getting - we're watching on television images filmed by, you know, telephones and - but - and we're - they're talking to people who were witnesses there. And they say that, you know, law enforcement stormed this night club, which is - it's a concert hall called the Bataclan - and they heard, you know, many, many - gun fire, like a Kalashnikov gunfire, but they didn't know where it was coming from. There's - no one really knows exactly what's going on. As you know, since the January attacks, there have been soldiers and police out in force all over the country. So they've locked down the whole neighborhood around these two places in Paris, and we're just getting witnesses on the telephone. Many people were crying, and the news channels had to cut them off because they couldn't have that kind of thing on the air to panic people because nobody really knows what's going on. But now we do have 18 confirmed dead, so there's no doubt that - there's little doubt that Paris is under attack by an organized attack again.

CORNISH: Can you tell us anything about these neighborhoods or what police are telling to residents?

BEARDSLEY: Yeah, these neighborhoods are just active, fun, young neighborhoods with nightclubs, bars, people going out. It's warm; we've had very warm weather. Everyone is out in the street. It's a Friday night. People are having a good time. And all of a sudden, this comes over the city. So everyone is sort of shocked, but at the same time, they're thinking back to January. Everyone is brought back - my God, we've been through this before and here it is happening again, and no one can quite believe it.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris. Eleanor, thanks so much.

BEARDSLEY: Thank you, Audie.

CORNISH: And we'll be hearing from Eleanor throughout the evening. Again, we want to tell you that at least 18 people have died in a series of attacks in central Paris and reports of hostages being held at a concert hall. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.

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