France has closed its borders and a city-wide curfew is now in effect in Paris, where at least 37 people have been killed and 100 hostages were taken in a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks Friday night.
Local TV station BFMTV reported around 1 a.m. local time that a hostage situation at a concert hall had ended and that two terrorists had been killed.
The terror began around 9:45 p.m. local time. Within minutes, there was a mass shooting outside a restaurant, explosions outside a soccer stadium where French President Francois Hollande was in attendance, and a shooting and hostage-taking at a music venue.
Hollande spoke shortly before midnight local time, declaring a state of emergency and announcing that the borders had been closed “to make sure we capture who is responsible.”
Hollande called the assailants “criminals and terrorists” and said that terrorists want “to scare us” but that France is a nation “that knows how to defend itself.”
Police first confirmed the shooting near Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge restaurants in the 10th arrondisement. They later said at least 11 were killed there.
Meanwhile, at least two explosions were heard near the Stade de France, the country’s national football stadium, while a France-Germany friendly football match was happening with President Hollande in the stands.
Gregory Goupil of the national police said three people were killed in two suicide attacks and a bombing outside the stadium.
Police also said about 100 people were taken at the Bataclan concert hall on Boulevard Voltaire, where an Eagles of Death Metal concert was scheduled.
There were approximately 15 killed there Friday evening, according to The Associated Press.
Lisa Anselmo told CTV News Channel she lives just minutes from the restaurants and the Bataclan, and happened to walk by both around 9 p.m. local time.
“There were people lining up outside (the restaurants) when I walked by,” she said.
Anslemo said that once she got back to her apartment, she heard the sirens and her phone and Facebook were “blowing up” with messages.
“These are all neighbourhoods that are full of life, a lot of young people and very vibrant and packed at this time of day,” she added.
“This is really terrifying.”
Security Consultant David Hyde told CTV News Channel that “this certainly has some of the hallmarks of Islamist terrorism.”
“Paris has a very large number of returning fighters from Syria, Iraq,” Hyde said.
“The question now: Did (the attackers) have a plan to escape?”
“Obviously, shutting down the borders, shutting down the streets may help to a degree, but these people are going to go underground.”
World Leaders reaction:
U.S. President Barack Obama called the attacks were “an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and offered his condolences to the French people and support “whatever assistance” is needed.
“We want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement saying that he is “shocked and saddened.”
“Canada stands with France at this dark time and offers all possible assistance. We will continue to work closely with the international community to help prevent these terrible, senseless acts,” he said.
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