By: Samantha Cooper
On November 13, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris. 130 people were killed and hundreds more were injured. The entire series of events took place at night over a span of three hours.
The attacks were the deadliest to occur in France since World War II and in Europe since 2004. ISIL (The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) claimed responsibility for the attacks the following day.
The attacks were coordinated by three teams and were carried out in six separate areas of Paris. The attacks consisted of four suicide bombings and four shootings. Three of the suicide bombings were meant to take place at the same time. The first suicide bomb detonated near Stade de France, a stadium where a soccer game was being held. Two people, including the bomber, were killed.
During this instance, the bomber was prevented from entering by a security guard during a pat-down. It is believed that the bomber planned to detonate the bomb inside the stadium while two other suicide bombers would wait for the crowds to run out before detonating themselves. France’s President François Hollande was at the stadium at the time.
The second attack involved open fire at a restaurant in the city’s 10th arrondissement. 15 people were killed. A second suicide bomber near the stadium killed himself at 9:30 p.m., ten minutes after the first attack. No citizens were killed.
A second round of shootings occurred at two different restaurants. 24 people were killed. Around the same time, a suicide bomber detonated his vest at a restaurant, killing himself and wounding one other person. A third suicide bomber near the stadium also detonated himself.
The most deadly event of the night occurred when several gunmen took over a concert hall, where a sold-out performance by an American rock band was taking place. About an hour into the concert, three men with assault rifles entered the Bataclan theatre and opened fire. The attack lasted some 20 minutes. Some people managed to escape, but the gunmen held many others hostage. The RAID unit went into the theatre to rescue the hostages. Three of the gunmen died during the raid, and some 89 concert-goers were killed.
All of the attackers were EU citizens who had crossed borders without arousing suspicion. Some of them had gone to Syria and returned to Europe radicalized. This was considered a change in suspects, as citizens normally are not the perpetrators of terrorist attacks. Some of the attackers were Syrian immigrants who had been granted citizenship. Two of the suspects remain unidentified.
This attack came in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Shooting that occurred in January, in which terrorists killed several members of the French satirical magazine company. In response to the attack, the French government conducted a bombing campaign against ISIL’s main city.
The country is now in a state of emergency, which is expected to last three months. The Eiffel Tower is closed indefinitely. In response, several other cities, including New York, took extra security precautions.
Several countries around the world showed their respects by lighting landmark monuments in the colors of the French flag, and others gathered to sing the French national anthem. On social media, the phrase “Je Suis Paris” and “We are all Paris” became popular and were reminiscent of the sentiments after Charlie Hebdo. Many Facebook users changed their profile pictures to the colors of the French flag to express their sympathy. #PrayforParis trended as well, although many social media users objected to the phrase. In addition, artist Jean Jullien’s “Peace for Paris” image, which depicts the Eiffel Tower as part of the traditional peace sign, went viral.
Goucher checked in with all of its students currently abroad in France; no one from Goucher was harmed in any of the attacks.