November 19, 2015
Everything you need to know about the attacks that killed 129
By Maggie Harden, Vernon Hills
and Katie Karmin, North Shore Country Day
Last Friday, Nov. 13, three teams of attackers killed 129 and wounded 352 others in Paris. Several of the terrorists shot and killed 89 civilians attending a concert in the Bataclan Theatre while holding the rest of the audience hostage. Three suicide bombers detonated vests at a soccer match in Stade de France, which was attended by French president Francois Hollande. The other shootings and a suicide bombing were executed at four different bars and restaurants across the city. The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, calling the city “the capital of prostitution and obscenity” and criticizing France’s air attacks on Syria and Iraq. Hollande declared three days of national mourning, and French media reported nearly 3,000 troops were deployed to settle the area.
Why is it happening?
An ongoing civil war in Syria involving the government, rebel fighters and the radical Islamic group ISIS (which has claimed responsibility for the attacks) has triggered one of the largest migrations the world has ever seen, invoking the relocation of millions of displaced people. European nations have experienced the brunt of this refugee crisis. European countries, including France, have gone on the offensive and launched aggressive strikes against the military group ISIS and surrounding perpetrators of violence.
This tragedy marks France’s third major encounter with internal terrorism this year and the third attack linked to Islamic extremists this month, following incidents in Egypt, Lebanon and now Paris. Friday night’s events serve as a not-so-friendly reminder that not only is the terrorist group global, but it’s also capable of executing a horrible atrocity in a major Western city.
Why should I care?
This is the worst display of violence on French soil since World War II. These casualties come just 10 months after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, and the two events combined have put France on high alert for Islamic radicalism. The Paris events and smaller-scale attacks in Lebanon, Turkey and Russia signify Islamic radicalism may be moving beyond its base in the Middle East, which has been long feared by Western leaders. On Monday, major news outlets reported that ISIS had released a new video promising to strike Washington, D.C. in the way it hit Paris. Although President Obama vowed over the weekend to help France in any way possible, he maintains that the U.S. will not take action via a ground invasion of Syria.
In the U.S., citing security concerns, more than 25 states have refused to accept any of the 10,000 Syrian refugees that are to be allowed access into the country starting next year.
Powerhouse countries such as the U.S. and Germany have declared their unwavering allegiance to France in the joint fight against terrorism, and Hollande has declared the urgency in annihilating ISIS. Signs of retaliation will include a more vehement approach in bombings and airstrikes, conducted all across Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Coincidentally, the G20 summit between the globe’s strongest economies continued as planned in Turkey earlier this week. The focus of the conference shifted from today’s economic issues to the more pressing matter of combating terrorism and eliminating ISIS.
The hundreds of thousands of refugees inside European borders have only temporary passports. Poland’s border has already closed, and the tense “welcome” that greeted this dramatic flood of emigrants is evaporating. It has been reported that at least one of the attackers came into Paris with a wave of Syrian refugees.
Friday, Nov. 13
9:20 p.m. local time — The first explosion takes place during a France-Germany soccer match at Stade de France.
9:25 p.m. — Gunmen shoot down two Paris cafes, Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, killing 15.
9:30 p.m. — A second explosion occurs at the stadium.
9:32 p.m. — Gunmen in a car open fire on another restaurant, La Bonne Bière, killing five. Four minutes later, gunmen in a car open fire on the terrace of restaurant La Belle Equipe.
9:40 p.m. — A suicide bomb hits the Comptoir Voltaire cafe. Three gunmen take the Bataclan Theatre hostage, shooting and throwing grenades into the crowd. The standoff lasts over two hours and 89 are killed before police storm the hall and the attackers detonate suicide vests.
9:53 p.m. — A third suicide bomb goes off at the stadium.
Saturday, Nov. 14
Islamic State claims responsibility for the attacks in an online statement.
Sunday, Nov. 15
France launches massive airstrikes in Syria, targeting a jihadi training camp and munitions camp. France drops 20 bombs in Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital. Seven alleged attackers have been arrested and are in custody.
Monday, Nov. 16
Hollande moves to extend France’s state of emergency by three months, which entails heightened security and search-and-seizure policies.
It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.” —French President Francois Hollande
It was terrifying. There was lots of screaming, lots of panic, lots of blood. People threw themselves to the ground but then they just started firing at random at the people on the ground.” —Frédéric Nowak, a survivor of the bataclan Theatre massacre
The killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey, it is an attack on the civilized world.” —President Barack Obama
They have crossed some kind of Rubicon. They have definitely shifted in their thinking about targeting their enemies.” —William McCants, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and author of “The ISIS Apocalypse”
Ismael Omar Mostefai: One of the alleged suicide bombers, identified from fingerprints found in the carnage Friday night. He was a 29-year-old French citizen flagged for ties to Islamic extremism.
Ahmad Al-Mohammad: A possible attacker and the owner of a Syrian passport found near the scene. It’s not clear if the passport was authentic, although it did reportedly allow him access to Europe through the Greek island of Leros.
Salah Abdeslam: An alleged attacker still at large. He’s a 26-year-old Belgian resident and rented the black car identified in the investigation. French officials have issued a warning telling people not to intervene because he is highly dangerous.
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