Islamic State claims responsibility for assassinations in Paris
The Islamic State (IS) organization has released a statement claiming responsibility for Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris. Shortly before that French President François Hollande had attributed the assassinations to them.
There are 128 people dead and 200 injured, 80 of whom are in critical condition. Eight attackers did not survive the violence.
In the statement, IS claims that eight of its fighters, equipped with automatic rifles and explosive belts, attacked various parts of the heart of the French capital that they had studied well.
The aim of the attack, according to the statement, was to show France that it will remain a main target of IS if it continues with its current policies. The statement also says the attacks were a response to insults against the Muslim Prophet and to the air strikes on Islamic State territory.
Shortly beforehand the group released an undated video threatening specifically France with attack. "As long as you drop bombs, you will not live in peace. You will be afraid to go outdoors to shop," an Arab man with a full beard, surrounded by other men, says in the video.
The speaker calls on Muslims who cannot travel to Syria to attack in France. "You are ordered to fight the infidel wherever you find them. What are you waiting for? There are arms and automobiles available and the targets are also prepared. There is also poison available, so poison the water and food of at least one of the enemies of Allah," the speaker in the video says.
The French Air Force is involved in combating the group in Iraq and Syria. Speaking after a crisis meeting of his Government, Hollande called the assassinations an act of war that had been planned and organized abroad with aid provided in France.
Last year IS declared a caliphate in part of Syria and Iraq. As many as 60 countries have gradually joined the fight against them. The most recent country to enter the conflict in Syria is Russia.
Places where the attacks happened:
Bataclan Concert Hall - 82 dead:
This music club on Boulevard Voltaire is one of the most famous in Paris. On Friday it was hosting a concert by the Californian rock group Eagles of the Death Metal, whose members survived the ordeal. The attack on the club was the single largest site of casualties (82), most of whom were young people.
Four terrorists with masked faces first opened fire on customers at the café in front of the club and then began shooting inside the club while shouting "Allah akbar". The shooting lasted approximately three hours.
"I clearly heard them say: 'This is Hollande's mistake, it's the mistake of your President, he should not have intervened in Syria,' they were also talking about Iraq," said 35-year-old Pierre Janaszak, who was in the concert hall during the shooting.
After 0:30 a police intervention began; four assailants were killed, three of whom blew themselves up by detonating their explosive belts.
Stade de France stadium - One dead:
The first explosions were heard simultaneously near two entrances to the stadium at 21:20 and in the adjacent McDonald's restaurant. A friendly football match between France and Germany was taking place in the sports arena for 80 000 people. French President François Hollande was attending and was evacuated by security. A total of three explosions took place there, killing one person and the three assassins.
Rue de Charonne - 19 dead:
A total of 19 people died on this street in eastern Paris. According to the testimony of one witness, shots were fired "for two to three minutes".
"I saw several bloodied bodies on the ground," he said. The aim of the shooting, according to this witness, was a café and Japanese restaurant.
Rue Alibert - at least 12 dead:
To the north of Paris shooting broke out at the corner of Alibert and Bichat streets on the terrace of a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge. At least 12 people died.
"It was surreal, everyone was lying on the ground, no one was moving," one woman said, "no one could understand anything. A young man was holding a young woman by the hand. She was dead."
Rue de la Fontaine au roi - at least five dead:
Several hundred meters away from the Bataclan Club, on the terrace of La Casa Nostra pizzeria, five people were killed. According to 35-year-old Mathieu, a witness, the attackers used an automatic rifle. "I was extremely lucky," he said. Another witness saw a "black Ford Focus from which people were shooting".
Another attack took place on the Boulevard Voltaire. One attacker died there.
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