On Friday night, Paris was full of life, people enjoying the beginning of the weekend. Families and friends were celebrating in the restaurants, bars and cafés. At the Stade de France, 80,000 soccer fans were watching and supporting their team playing against Germany. More than 1,200 young people gathered at Bataclan concert hall, were enjoying the concert of a Californian rock band.
In minutes, this beautiful atmosphere was shattered and the city of lights suffered the darkest night and the worst attack since WWII.
A coordinated, sophisticated and well-planned attack at multiple Paris locations left 128 people dead and more than 200 injured. One of the gunmen yelled “Allah Akbar” and it is believed that more than 100 people held hostage at Bataclan Theater were killed, some, one by one. One witness said “the onslaught lasted for maybe 10 minutes as people screamed and cowered on the floor, covering their heads to escape the bullets.”
The horror started when 3 suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France, where Mr. Holande was watching the football match. Fanatics later attacked a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge and the bar-café Le Carillon.
The Islamic terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. French media reports a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the attackers, at the Stade de France.
This was a hit to freedom of expression and democracy and the way of life, aiming to create major damages with social, political and economic consequences, an economic war to destroy the French tourism industry.
President Hollande declared three days of mourning. He said “this is an act of barbarism and there will be a merciless response”. He said last night: “France needs to be strong. Terrorists want us to be scared. In the face of terror, we must be united.” He has declared a State of Emergency, closure of public places, schools, shops, museums, public places and strict border control. Disneyland Paris has also closed its doors. Paris is on lockdown with 1,500 special troops on the streets.
Paris deputy mayor says “the attacks were a horrific reminder of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January.”
David Cameron, the British Prime Minister said “the terrorists want to divide and destroy our way of life and more than ever we should stay united.”
US President Barack Obama branded the carnage in Paris “an attack on humanity, an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians”. He spoke with President Hollande and pledged full support. He also said “this is an attack not just on Paris, not just on the people of France, it’s an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share. This is a heart-breaking situation and obviously, those of us here in the United States know what it’s like.”
The Pope said “this is a piecemeal part of the third world war”.
The streets of Paris are empty, are people try to cope with their sorrow, but there is no doubt the French spirit will never be defeated.