What has happened?
There have been seven apparently coordinated terror attacks in Paris carried out by at least eight militants, all wearing suicide vests. At least 129 people have been killed and 352 are injured.
- Two explosions were heard near the Stade de France, where Francois Hollande was watching France play Germany in an international football friendly, at around 8.30pm UK time. There were three suicide attacks near the venue, which is north of central Paris. One was near a McDonald’s restaurant on the fringes of the stadium.
- Meanwhile there were attacks on a restaurant and a bar, Le Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon, both in Rue Bichat, in the city’s 10th arrondissement.
- There were also attacks on La Belle Equipe bar in Rue de Charonne and a restaurant in Boulevard Voltaire, near the Bataclan.
- At least three terrorists took more than 100 people hostage at a music venue, Bataclan, where a concert was being held, before they began randomly killing at least 89. They had time to reload their weapons at least three times during the attack. Five explosions were heard when police stormed the venue. Two attackers detonated explosive vests during a police assault on the venue, while a third was shot by officers.
- A few hundred yards from the Bataclan, the terrace of the Casa Nostra pizzeria in Rue de la Fontaine au Roi was targeted.
- Shootings were also reported at the central Les Halles shopping centre and at Le Pompidou and Louvre, but they are believed now to be false alarms.
Who are the gunmen?
This is unknown at present as the situation is still developing. However, those responsible are believed to have been dressed in black and used Kalashnikovs and hand grenades.
Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor said Saturday afternoon that three “terrorist teams” were involved in the attacks, and French channel BFMTV, reported gunmen at Bataclan shouted: “It’s for Syria” and “Allahu Akbar“. There were also reports the attackers mentioned France’s military actions in Syria.
7 ‘terrorists’ dead in Paris attacks, Syrian passport found: prosecutor
Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent initially reported that Syrian and Egyptian passports were found near the bodies of the assailants involved in a wave of deadly attacks on Paris.
French police so far reported that a Syrian passport was found but did not say where exactly it was found, although they indicated a possible Syrian connection was a working hypothesis for investigators after assailants hit six separate locations in Paris late Friday, killing 128.
However, Reuters citing sources close to the investigation said the passport was found near the body of one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up on Friday near a Paris soccer stadium.
What Greece has to say about the passport?
On Saturday, a Greek minister said the Syrian passport found by police at the scene of the mass shooting in a Paris concert hall belonged to an asylum seeker who registered on a Greek island in October.
“We confirm that the Syrian passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,” said a statement issued by Nikos Toskas, the minister for citizen protection.
French police said the document was found “near the body of one of the attackers” in the investigation into the main attack of Friday’s carnage, at the Bataclan concert hall, where 82 people were killed.
European security officials had long feared that jihadists could take advantage of the mass migration influx, mainly from war-torn Syria, that Europe has been experiencing since the beginning of the year.
A Greek police source on Saturday said Athens had forwarded to French authorities the fingerprints of the passport holder registered on Leros in October, to check whether he was actually involved in Friday’s attacks.
Greece’s junior minister for migration Yiannis Mouzalas had admitted in September that it would be “foolish” to completely discount the possibility of jihadists sneaking into Europe among the refugee wave.
Over 800,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with over 3,400 dying in the process. But Mouzalas noted that the number of Europeans joining extremist groups in the Middle East was far higher. “The opposite is happening. They leave from here and go over there,” he said.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday insisted that the refugees fleeing Syria “are hunted by the same terrorists” that struck in Paris on Friday.
“We must find solutions to the drama of the people who leave their homes, hunted by the same terrorists, and drown in the Mediterranean,” Tsipras said in a televised address.
Two men who French police are seeking to trace in connection with the Paris attacks registered as refugees with Greek authorities earlier this year, the Greek police confirmed on Saturday.
French authorities had asked their Greek counterparts to check a passport and fingerprints of one man and the fingerprints of another who were thought to have registered in Greece, which is the main entry point into Europe for Syrian refugees.
A French national is also believed to be among four men who stormed a Paris concert hall overnight, killing at least 82 people, police and a source close to the investigation said Saturday.
Investigators said they found the body of a French national who was known to intelligence services and indicated he was likely one of four men who attacked the Bataclan concert hall late Friday.
French officials: 3 teams carried out highly coordinated Paris attacks
French authorities said Saturday that three terrorist teams carried out the highly coordinated attacks on the streets of Paris that left 129 people dead — including one American — and more than 350 people injured.
The investigation has also yielded the identity of a French radical among the killers, one person with a Syrian passport and a tip that led Belgian authorities to arrest three people linked to the massacres. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Police raid Brussels neighborhoods as Molenbeek
Belgian police also raided Saturday a neighborhood of the capital Brussels in connection with the deadly attacks in Paris, public television RTBF reported.
The network quoted an unidentified source as saying up to three raids were being carried out in the Molenbeek district in connection with the Paris attacks.
Sources: Telegraph.co.uk, Al-Arabiya, Reuters, CNN, Liberation.fr, RTBF