Paris: At Least 100 Dead In Explosions, Shootings and Hostage Situation

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PARIS, Nov 14 –  At least 100 are dead in a series of attacks on four locations in Paris including shootings, explosions and a hostage situation at a concert hall, according to French media and police sources. A police source said that three attackers have been killed and that the hostage situation at the theater, Bataclan concert hall, was over. In the wake of the attacks, French President Francois Hollande said he was locking down the borders of the country and declaring a state of emergency.

Hollande called the attacks unprecedented and President Obama called them an attack on all of humanity.  The attacks took place at the theater, the Stade de France soccer stadium, a restaurant in the 10th District and another location in the 11th District. Police in Paris were recommending that residents avoid going out unless absolutely necessary and the subway system was shut down.

The Department of Homeland Security said it is closely monitoring the events in Paris said there was no specific or credible threat to the United States. DHS said it’s in contact with its counterparts in the area and “will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people.”

Eagles of Death Metal, an American rock band that was performing at Bataclan tonight, said in a 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.” The explosions took place near the Stade de France stadium, one of the sources said, where Germany was playing France in soccer. Hollande was at the game at the time and was evacuated.

One witness, Margot Schmorak, told that one of the attacks “was around the corner from us, about a half a block down. Schmorak and three colleagues were sitting outside on sidewalk … we heard a bunch of gun shots. Maybe 8 to 10, and then there was kind of a pause, and there was a few more. We actually said to each other, ‘Is that gunshots or is it firecrackers or something else?’ And then one of my friends actually said, ‘I think it’s gunshots.’ And we saw people running from around the corner,” she said.

Another witness, Emilioi Macchio, was at a bar when he heard gunshots, according to the Associated Press. It sounded like fireworks,” Macchio said, the AP reported.  Secretary of State John Kerry called the attacks “heinous, evil, vile acts. Those of us who can must do everything in our power to fight back against what can only be considered an assault on our common humanity, said Kerry.

Our embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of American citizens in the city, and in the days ahead we stand ready to provide whatever support the French government may require. France is our oldest ally, a friend and a vital partner,” Kerry’s statement said. “We stand with the French people tonight, as our peoples have always stood together in our darkest hours.  These terrorist attacks will only deepen our shared resolve.” Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the U.S., said he was devastated by the carnage.

President Obama said from the White House today that, while the details of the attacks in France are unknown, the U.S. stands together with France “in the fight against terrorism and extremism.” Obama called France an “extraordinary counter-terrorism partner.” Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress,” Obama said, adding that the “American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A federal law enforcement source said the FBI set up a “command post” to help monitor and respond to the attacks. The FBI is actively trying to help French authorities, but as of now, U.S. authorities do not know who is responsible.

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