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10 Paris Attacks Facts - WMNews Ep. 53

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Sean Harris. It’s been described as France’s ‘worst day of violence since World War II’ and an “act of war.” Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we’re counting down 10 crucial facts you should know about the terror attack on Paris.

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10 Paris Attacks Facts - WMNews Ep. 53

#10: When Did the Paris Attacks Occur?
The Situation

On the evening of Friday, November 13th, 2015, the capital city of France, Paris, was subject to a series of terror attacks, mass shootings and suicide bombings. The first explosion occurred outside of the Stade de France stadium at 9:20pm Central European Time. At 9:25, two city-center restaurants underwent a mass shooting, before a second stadium explosion occurred at 9:30. Two minutes later, a bar was the scene of another mass shooting. At 9:36, a similar attack on another eatery. Four minutes later, a suicide blast inside another restaurant. At approximately the same time, around 9:40, three gunmen entered and attacked the Bataclan (bat-aah-clawn) concert venue. Finally, a third blast occurred at the Stade de France at 9:53, while a hostage situation developed at the Bataclan. At 12:20am, three hours after the night’s first explosion, French forces stormed the venue, killing one of the assailants, and prompting the other two to detonate suicide vests. The Paris attacks came a day after ISIS claimed responsibility for deadly bombings in Beirut against Shia communities.

#9: Which Areas Were Targeted?
The Locations

Three explosions took place around the Stade de France football stadium in Saint-Denis, around 7.5 miles from the city-center. France was playing Germany in an international friendly at the time, with French president Francois Hollande in attendance. The restaurants and Bataclan concert hall – at which American band Eagles of Death Metal was performing – are all located in central Paris, in or around the city’s 10th and 11th Districts. In general, the attackers targeted the Parisian social scene, killing people who had expected an enjoyable Friday night in some of the city’s most fashionable neighborhoods.

#8: Which Areas Were Targeted? Part II
The Coordination

At least seven assailants are thought to be directly responsible for the carnage, in what has since been uncovered as a carefully planned and coordinated attack. Supporters inside the Stadium heard the explosions outside of the Stade de France, although no one was immediately aware of exactly what had happened. Minutes later, three men stormed the Bataclan concert hall firing randomly, before taking hundreds hostage. As they began shooting, many dropped to the ground, with some concertgoers playing dead. The gunmen re-loaded several times before French security forces eventually stormed the building at 12:20AM.

#7: What Were the Casualties?
The Deaths

A week after the attack, the death toll stood at over 120. More than 350 people were reported wounded, with close to 100 in critical condition. At least 89 of the deaths had occurred at the Bataclan venue. Citizens of at least 15 countries have been listed among the dead, with the first victims named the day after the attack. There has been widespread social media coverage of the events, with friends and relatives taking to Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks in search of missing people. The French government also set up a hotline for information on missing people, as well as a website.

#6: Who Is Claiming Responsibility?
The Enemy

On Saturday, November 14th, 2015, the jihadist extremist militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, alternately known as the Islamic State, IS or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attacks, labeling them as ‘the first of the storm’. In a statement released by the extremists, the attackers were described as ‘eight brothers’, the locations were described as ‘accurately chosen’, and Francois Hollande was berated as ‘the fool of France’. France itself was mocked as a ‘capital of prostitution and obscenity’, and was warned that it would remain a top ISIS target, especially after recent French air strikes in Iraq and Syria. As of mid-November 2015, an international manhunt to find culprits and accomplices continued, with its early focus especially centered on neighboring EU nations. Investigators were still searching for 26-year-old Belgian citizen Salah Abdeslam (saLAH abdeh-selam) in connection with the Paris attacks. Furthermore, on November 16th, 2015 an ISIS fighter threatened to attack the capital of the United States.

#5: Has This Happened Before in France?
The Shooting

Unfortunately, the November 13th massacre is not the first terror attack to strike Paris in 2015. On the morning of January 7th, 12 people were killed following a shooting at the offices of French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, as two gunmen raided an editorial meeting for the publication, systematically executing the people inside. The attack was reportedly staged as revenge for illustrations carried in Charlie Hebdo, depicting the Prophet Mohammad. Following the January 7th attack, France raised its security to the highest level, and on January 11th around 2 million people, including more than 40 world leaders, took part in a rally of national unity staged in the center of Paris.

#4: What Has Been France’s Reaction?
The Anger

Politically, France immediately vowed to continue its fight against the Islamic State, and to continue mounting US-led airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in the Middle East. On Sunday, November 15th, French jets launched their most destructive raids in Syria to date, dropping at least 20 bombs onto a known ISIS base in Raqqa (rack-ah). Socially, Francois Hollande called for three days of ‘national mourning’ in France, having initially declared a state of emergency in Paris, and massively heightened border security.

#3: What Has Been the International Community’s Response?
The Support

International statements of support were both rapid and widespread. The attacks were universally condemned, with many countries and world leaders highlighting the need for ‘solidarity’ with France against all terrorist organizations. Famous buildings around the world were lit in the colors of the French flag, and vigils took place in many major cities, including Sydney, Montreal, London and New York. Social media has also been alive with reaction to the attacks. Many Facebook users altered their profile pictures to include a tricolor overlay of France’s flag, supportive hashtags were widely shared, and an altered, Eiffel Tower-inspired image of the International Peace Symbol trended worldwide.

#2: What Has Been the Response from the Islamic Community?
The Condemnation

Statements of support for France have also been issued by the Islamic Community, with Muslim leaders the world over reminding everybody that the attacks do not reflect true Islamic faith. The Association of British Muslims said that ‘The Muslim faith condemns such acts of violence’; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (row-hawn-EE) described the attack as ‘a crime against humanity’; Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah (halid al-at-TEE-ya) described it as ‘heinous’, and Indonesian President Joko Widodo (joko WEE-doh-DOH) said that his country ‘condemns the violence that took place in Paris.’ On social media, anti-ISIS messages have carried hashtags such as #TerrorismHasNoReligion and #NotInMyName.

#1: How Will the November 2015 Paris Attacks Affect International Relations?
The Future

Though it’s unclear at present how the attacks will damage, or strengthen, international links for the future, the events of November 13th have undoubtedly caused a fresh wave of political tension, especially across Europe. The continent is already struggling to cope with a ‘migrant crisis’, as asylum-seekers arrive daily from the Middle East in search of a better standard of living. In turn, the Paris attacks have led to pressure from EU-skeptics for a tightening of the continent’s open border system – especially as early evidence suggests one of the attackers might’ve been posing as a Syrian refugee. The attacks in Paris and Beirut have increased backlashes against Muslims worldwide, playing into ISIS’ plan to create bigger rifts between Muslims and Westerners, even though most Muslims themselves are targeted by ISIS and critical of the terrorist organization. It is clear that ISIS has become an established international threat, if it wasn’t already before, by turning its eye towards bigger targets and western society. But should Europe respond by taking back the freedoms for which it is famed? It remains to be seen how the international community will react long-term, for now the calls for ‘solidarity’ are key.

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