Terror attacks hit Paris and London

  • By Gerard Martins

Hundreds have been killed in a series of simultaneous attacks across Paris and a failed attack in London

12th November 2015

Kurdish terror cells broken up and numerous arrests made in the UK, Norway and Italy.

14th November 2015 11:00 GMT

A man has been arrested before managing to detonate an explosive device in London’s Gatwick international airport’s northern terminal.


 

Friday the 13th attacks:

Simultaneous attacks took place across seven packed venues late on Friday night in Paris. A concert hall hosting an American rock band, an international football game between France and Germany attended by the French president, and a series of five further bars, clubs and restaurants.

paris 2

 

At the Bataclan, the most deadly attack, hostages were taken, no demands were made, and the attackers did not speak. Attackers rounded up the audience making only one comment: “This is for Syria” reported by one survivor. The numbers of dead vary according to source but a minimum of 127 up to 200 people have so far been declared dead with hundreds more, seriously injured, mainly with gun shot wounds.

The only reason the attacks were not more successful was thanks to the quick thinking of some of the concert goers, who managed to raise the alarm on Twitter, allowing for the French military to storm the building.

Many audience members managed to escape through a fire escape.

Witnesses described the gunmen as using the weapons in a way that suggested high levels of formal training.


 

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When an explosion, believed to be a suicide bomb, detonated during the international friendly between France and Germany, the player played on and the crown acted indifferent. One fan tells The International:

“We thought it was just a flare or firework, this is not unusual at big games in Europe”

It wasn’t until gunfire broke out that panic set in, the crowds storming the pitch in desperate efforts to escape.


 

The Da’ish Al-Dawla (We shall not call them Islamic, as their actions contradict this meaning) group have claimed responsibility for the attacks. President François Hollande also stated that it was the Dawla rebels who were to blame for the terror attacks across Paris that killed at least 127 people, many of whom were Muslim. France has the EU’s largest Muslim population outside of the Balkans, totaling nearly 8% of the national population, a figure that is higher in Paris.

The terror group has vowed that further attacks against France would follow in response to the country’s foreign policies in the Middle-East.

Hollande said the attacks were “an act of war … prepared and planned elsewhere, with outside involvement which this investigation will seek to establish”. He adds that France will be “ruthless in its response” and declares three days of national mourning.

The state of emergency declared across France on Friday night remains in place on Saturday. The measure means that most public spaces can be shut down and there is heightened police and military presence across the country. 1’500 soldiers were originally deployed on the streets of Paris, this number expected to increase to 5’000 as the number of fatalities continues to rise. The entire French border has been closed and fortified with full military mobilization.

The French police stress that no public demonstrations are to be held in Paris.

David Cameron is to chair an emergency Cobra meeting of government ministers and security officials to discuss the British response. A senior Met police officer suggested that the UK may increase its terror threat level to the highest possible.

The French government also convened an emergency meeting on Saturday morning to formulate its response to the attack. An international investigation is launched overnight and officials have said some of the attackers are still at large, although 8 were killed or exploded themselves at the scene.

The official death toll stands at 127, while about 200-300 are believed to be seriously injured.
Earlier on Saturday, the death toll at each location was reported as: 87 at the Bataclan theatre; 18 at Boulevard de Charonne; one at Boulevard Voltaire; five at Rue de la Fontaine au Roi; and 14 at Rue Alibert. More deaths have been reported on Saturday morning but it is unclear where they occurred.

At the Stade de France, the Paris prosecutor François Molins, says “some” people were killed, possibly three. However, it is not clear whether they are attackers or victims.

Eight assailants have been killed, seven of them in suicide bombings, a French prosecutor said. But police are still hunting accomplices. Witnesses to one shooting said police told them at least one attacker was still at large.

World leaders have voiced outrage, with many pledging to help France with the ongoing investigation. Barack Obama says America stood shoulder-to-shoulder with France. The Vatican has also condemned the attack as “mad violence”. Whilst Russia has offered full investigative assistance and planning.

So far one suspect has been detained in Germany, a man from the former Yugoslav state of Montenegro (Crna Gora) whom was found in a car filled with guns and dynamite, it is believed he was planning a follow up attack in Paris later today. Of the eight attackers killed, the majority carried French passports and are confirmed as being of French nationality.

Today landmarks around the world, including the London Eye (main picture) have taken the colours of the French flag as a symbol of solidarity against terrorism.

USA, European nations and Russia have all increased their domestic security in the aftermath of the attacks as the manhunt for the attackers who escaped continues.


 

Early today the migrant camp known as The Jungle was set on fire in a racist attack,  France and the UK already have Europe’s highest levels of anti-islamic racist hate crimes, mainly against vulnerable women and children, knowing that such attacks against Muslims, who had nothing to do with last nights attacks would only make matter worse, the French Government have insisted that public demonstrations must not take place.

It is important to draw the distinction between one terror group from the Middle-East, whom show know following of the peaceful teachings of Islam and the 2 billion Muslims that live today. All racist attacks against Muslims in response to these attacks must be punished as acts of terror and extremism themselves.

One British Muslim explains to The International today:

“It’s bad, not only do I fear for my life and family from terror attacks today, but I fear for our safety form the racists. We have all been attacked on the streets before, myself, my wife, my young children, today I am afraid to leave the house for both reasons. Islam teaches us about tolerance and peace, today we try and live peacefully in fear of attacks from both sides.”


G.Martins@theinternational.org.uk