French President Francois Hollande says the multiple terror attacks carried out at several sites around Paris on Friday that killed nearly 130 people were “organized and planned from outside,” and called it an “act of war.” Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants claimed responsibility for the series of shootings and suicide bombings that amounted to some of the worst domestic violence in the country since World War II.
The violence unfolded as residents and travelers were out enjoying the evening in the French capital. Authorities say four restaurants and a bar were attacked by gunmen almost simultaneously killing at least 36 people. Meanwhile Paris’ Bataclan concert venue was also attacked by gunmen killing at least 80 people. As that took place, suicide bombers attacked a fast food restaurant near the Stade de France, just north of Paris during a soccer match between France and Germany, while Hollande was in attendance. He was whisked away to safety after the initial blast. A Syrian passport was found one the body of one of the attackers.
“We heard the sound of guns, 30-second bursts. It was endless. We thought it was fireworks,” Pierre Montfort, a resident living close to Le Petit Cambodge, one of the restaurants that came under attack, told the BBC.
ISIS reportedly released a statement early Saturday saying “eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles” had carried out the attacks and said the violence was a response to French involvement in airstrikes against ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, President Obama immediately and strongly condemned the attacks, vowing to stand with the French.
Watch the full statement from @POTUS on the attacks in Paris. https://t.co/yQThOvrdxZ
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 13, 2015
“Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” Obama said from the White House on Friday. “This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”