Attacks Hit Paris; Dozens Killed
A Paris police official said there were at least 100 hostages in a Paris theater following shooting and explosions at two cites in the city. Multiple officials, including one medical official, put the number of dead at between 35 to 40 people.
Two Paris police officials say security forces have ended their assault on a concert hall filled with hostages, killing at least two attackers. Neither official could be named, citing ongoing operations throughout the city. One official described "carnage" inside the building, saying the attackers had tossed explosives at the hostages. Both officials said they expected the toll of victims to rise.
Automatic gunfire and blasts have rung out from the area of a Paris music hall where police say people are being held hostage.
Scores of police are surrounding the Bataclan concert hall, and sirens are wailing throughout the neighborhood.
The gunfire began soon after French President Francois Hollande said security forces were launching an assault on one of several sites targeted in attacks Friday night around Paris.
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Hundreds of people spilled onto the field of the Stade de France stadium after explosions were heard nearby during a friendly match between the French and German national soccer teams.
A stadium announcer made an announcement over the loudspeaker after the match, telling fans to avoid certain exits "due to events outside," without elaborating.
At first that prompted some panic, but then the crowds just walked dazed, hugging each other and looking at their phones for the latest news of the violence. Many appeared hesitant to leave amid the uncertainty after France's deadliest attacks in decades.
U.S. Homeland Security Department officials monitoring the attacks in Paris say there is no known, credible threat against the United States. DHS officials are in contact with their foreign counterparts amid reports of multiple shootings and explosions in Paris.
Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff says it is too early to know exactly what was happening in Paris.
U.S. President Barack Obama made a statement on Friday evening. Watch the video:
Obama is calling the attacks on Paris "outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians" and is vowing to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to justice. Obama said he would not speculate about who was responsible.
He called the attacks a "heartbreaking situation" and an "attack on all of humanity." Obama was briefed on the attacks Friday by his counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco.
The attacks come as the president is preparing for two trips abroad. He's slated to leave Saturday for a nine-day trip to Turkey, the Philippines and Malaysia. He due to travel to Paris for climate change talks at the end of the month.
Social media posts from purported ISIS supporters could indicate that "there was a group waiting for this, but it could be a group watching," Chertoff said in an interview with MSNBC Friday night.
"I don't think we can say this proves anything, but again it supports the idea that it's terrorism," Chertoff said.
John Cohen, a former Homeland Security Department counterterrorism coordinator, say the presence of multiple attack scenes at the same time suggested a coordinated effort to "send a message" and raises immediate terror concerns, including for other cities in Europe and potentially the United States as well. He said both Al Qaida and ISIS have relied on the strategy of coordinated attacks in the past.
Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy released the following statement on Friday night:
"My heart sunk into my chest when I heard the news of another terrorist attack in Paris. Now is the time for America to stand shoulder to shoulder with France, our unbreakable ally, in this moment of crisis. We know too well the raw, searing amalgam of fear, anger and sorrow that accompany large-scale terrorist attacks, and the thoughts of everyone in Connecticut are with the people of Paris tonight. As President Obama stated this evening, the United States stands ready to assist in the effort to bring the perpetrators of this horror to justice."
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.