ISIS Claims Responsibility For French Attacks

On Friday the 13th of November, 129 (or possibly more) people were killed and more than 350 were injured in six attacks in and around Paris. These attacks are the worst France has seen in over 70 years.  ISIS has claimed responsibility for the horrific attacks, which French President Francois Hollande has called “an act of war,” and on Saturday the 14th, there were several related police raids and arrests in Belgium on suspected terrorists. Just 10 months after 12 people were killed in the Charlie Hebdo Paris office by terrorists from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for creating a cartoon that supposedly mocked the Prophet Muhammed, terrorists attacked six specific locations in and around Paris armed with explosive belts and machine guns, with the aim to kill as many people as possible. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack; their claim has been unconfirmed but the U.S “has no reason to doubt it,” according to a senior U.S intelligence official. All seven terrorists are dead; several perpetrated suicide bombings and others detonated their explosive belts when the police came.

President Hollande was attending a France-Germany friendly international soccer match at Stade de France, one of the targeted sites when the bullets started flying. After learning of the impending bloodshed the president was evacuated at halftime. The other locations that were attacked by terrorists were the Bataclan concert hall, where the majority of the deaths occurred and a hostage situation ensued early Saturday (local time); Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant; Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, a popular walking street; La Belle Equipe, a restaurant; and Avenue de la Republique. At the Bataclan, where the most fatalities occurred (at least 80), American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was performing until gunshots rang out and the band hurried backstage and escaped out the back door. Parisians offered up their homes to those fleeing the attacks.

Analysts had expected an attack but didn’t think that ISIS had the skill to pull off an attack of this caliber. An American woman was reportedly killed in one of the restaurants that the attackers began shooting in, and several more Americans were injured. Many of the victims remain unidentified until the dozens of bodies have been recovered. President Hollande vowed that France’s response to the attacks would be “ruthless” and it is thought that France will step up their airstrikes in Syria and maybe increase their ground forces.

There has been an outpouring of support for France, among world leaders and regular people on social media. #ParisAttacks, #JeSuisParis, and #PrayForParis are popular hashtags used to tweet or Instagram support to the victims of these horrific acts of violence. World leaders including President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister David Cameron, President Vladimir Putin, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have offered their condolences to President Hollande and the people of France as they mourn this loss and become even stronger than ever.

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