President François Hollande shut France’s borders and declared a national state of emergency on Friday as dozens of people were feared dead and scores taken hostage in a series of violent terror attacks in the capital city of Paris.
Early reports suggested at least 60 people had been killed in the attacks, and an estimated 100 taken hostage in a concert. French police officials told the AP that of 3 explosions outside the Stade de France, one was a suicide attack.
“This is a terrible test, another assault on France,” Hollande said. “We must, in these difficult moments, prove our our compassion and unity. Faced with terrorism, France must above all be strong. Each of us has a personal responsibility. There is much to fear, but facing these fears is a nation that knows how to muster its forces and will confront the terrorists.”
Paris officials say at least 100 hostages have been taken hostage at the Bataclan concert venue in the 11th Arrondissement and a number of people killed. According to multiple early reports, several hostages have reportedly escaped from the concert venue, although dozens remained inside.
Shortly after police arrived to surround the Bataclan, witnesses heard automatic gunfire around the theater, according to the Associated Press, although it was not immediately clear whether the shots were coming from the police or the attackers.
Another shooting was reported at a Cambodian restaurant near the 11th Arrondissement of the city, the AP reports. At least one shooter opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, and a BBC reporter said he saw 10 people on the road, either dead or seriously injured.
There was also at least one explosion at the Stade de France appeared to coincide with a national soccer game against Germany, and Hollande was in attendance, according to French cable TV channel iTele. Police have closed Republique and Filles du Calvaire Metro stations. President Hollande has been safely evacuated from the stadium.
The American band Eagles of Death Metal was reportedly playing in the Bataclan, and the mother of one of the band members tells the Washington Post her son and other band members have escaped, although some crew remain trapped as hostages.
President Obama addressed the U.S. from the White House on Friday evening, expressing solidarity with the French people against terrorism and extremism. “This is an attack not just on the people of Paris, not just the people of France, but an attack on all of humanity,” he said. “Those who think they can terrorize the people of France or the values they stand for are wrong.”
Obama said that he has not yet contacted President Hollande because “my expectation is he’s very busy at this moment.” The Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring the situation. “At this time, there is no specific or credible threat to the United States,” it said.
It’s not clear yet that the explosion heard at the stadium was linked to the shootings. No group has yet taken responsibility for the attacks.
Photos: Fatal Shootings, Explosions Rock Paris
This is a breaking news story. Please check back for more updates.
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