© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

French Authorities Say The Death Toll In Paris Attacks Could Exceed 120

Updated 11:29 p.m. ET

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins says there have been six attacks in and around the city, and the death toll could exceed 120. The majority of those killed were in a concert hall.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that French police stormed and took control of a concert hall, and two attackers there were killed. Molins says at least five attackers in total have been killed.

The hall is one of six locations that were the target of nearly simultaneous shootings or bombings Friday in the French capital. Most appeared to be within a one-mile strip in the center of the city.

Eleanor says the first attack was a shooting around 9:30 p.m. local time that took place in front of a restaurant. People in a car reportedly opened fire with Kalashnikovs.

The concert hall that was attacked, called the Bataclan, was secured by police. Officers described the the inside of the building as a "horror scene."

The band playing there was American rock band Eagles of Death Metal. The band's manager released the following statement: "We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew. Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation."

Eleanor reported that another attack involved two suicide bombings near the national stadium, just outside the city, where a soccer game between Germany and France was being played.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston says law enforcement officials believe the "suicide bombers outside the stadium were likely planning to go inside but changed their minds because of the heightened security that accompanied French President Francois Hollande, who was there to watch a soccer match."

This video taken at the soccer game appeared to capture the sound of an explosion.

"People are saying that Paris is under attack again," Eleanor said, referring to the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo that shook Paris in January.

Dina reports that officials in both the U.S. and France say "the sophistication of the attacks give them some clues as to who committed them, although no group has formally claimed responsibility. The officials' suspicions, at this early stage, point to al-Qaida because the group specializes in these kinds of attacks. ISIS, to date, has not shown that level of organization."

Hollande addressed the nation, announcing that he had declared a state of emergency and had put additional restrictions on France's international borders. Dina reported that France was quick to secure the borders in order to prevent the escape of any suspects, as happened after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

One of the suspects who French police searched for in the wake of January's attacks on the publication Charlie Hebdo and other sites was the wife of the man who opened fire in a kosher supermarket; she was his common-law wife, and as they looked for her, she disappeared. Dina says the woman had sneaked across the border with Turkey, and Hollande may have wanted to avoid a repeat of that kind of situation in closing the borders so quickly.

In Paris, Eleanor says the city is in complete lockdown.

She said French TV got its earliest information from people on the scene. "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."

President Obama called the attack "outrageous" and pledged U.S. support to France.

"This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share," Obama said during his brief remarks. He said it was a "heartbreaking situation."

Obama also said that the U.S. would help bring those responsible to justice and "go after any terrorist networks that go after our people."

He spoke with Hollande by phone later Friday night, to "offer the condolences of the American people" and to reiterate "the United States' steadfast, unwavering support for the people of France, our oldest ally and friend," a White House spokesman said in a statement.

The U.S. men's national soccer team showed its respect for the victims by holding a moment of silence before its game against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Other venues and landmarks around the world also expressed support for France.

We will update as more details become available. When news such as this is breaking, some reports will turn out to be incorrect. We will focus on accounts from journalists on the ground and reliable news outlets.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.