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Paris Counts Its Dead and Remains on Lockdown

Bodies are still being removed from the Bataclan concert hall, where at least 87 people were slaughtered on Friday night — just one in a series of terror attacks to rock the French capital.
Photo by Etienne Rouillon/VICE News

Paris woke up on lockdown this morning, as the city continued to deal with the aftermath of Friday's terror attacks that killed more than 120 people. A provisional toll from the deadly rampage put the number of dead at 128, while another 99 were in critical condition, according to a source at the prosecutor's office.

French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday the attacks were "an act of war" organized from abroad by Islamic State (IS) with internal help. IS also issued a statement claiming responsibility, and released an undated video in which a militant said France would not live peacefully as long it took part in US-led bombing raids against its fighters.


Related: In Photos: Dramatic Images Show Aftermath of Paris Terror Attacks

Gunmen strapped with suicide bombs attacked restaurants, a concert hall, and a sports stadium at locations across the French capital on Friday night. A city hall official said four gunmen systematically slaughtered at least 87 young people at a show by the American rock group Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan concert hall. Bodies were still being removed from the venue on Saturday morning.

Graphic footage filmed by journalist Daniel Psenny of Le Monde showed concertgoers fleeing the theater as shots rang out at around 10pm local time. The video appears to show some victims motionless on the ground, people dragging the wounded through an alley, and others hanging from ledges on the upper floors of the building.

Forty more people were killed in five other attacks in the Paris region, the official said, including an apparent double suicide bombing outside the Stade de France national stadium, where Hollande and the German foreign minister were watching a friendly international soccer match. Some 200 people were injured. Police officials said they found a Syrian passport on the body of one of the attackers near the stadium.

Emergency services were mobilized, police leave was cancelled, 1,500 army reinforcements were drafted into the Paris region and hospitals recalled staff to cope with the casualties. Reports said 300 people were hospitalized on Saturday, including 80 in critical condition.


As dawn broke over the Bataclan concert hall, police had cordoned off the street in the busy neighborhood, close to the former offices of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, target of a deadly attack by Islamist gunmen in January.

Hollande declared national mourning for three days, and French police released a statement saying public demonstrations in Paris are banned until Thursday. The Paris metro railway was closed and schools, universities and municipal buildings were ordered to stay shut on Saturday, but some rail and air services are expected to run. Management at the Eiffel Tower said the landmark would remain closed indefinitely.

Related: Islamic State Calls France One of Its 'Principal Targets' in Statement Claiming Paris Attacks

Romain, 25, was in the stadium during the attack. "We heard a first explosion around the 16th minute of the game, the second one at around 20 minutes, I think," he said. "Everyone thought they were 'agricultural bombs' [the massive firecrackers are sometimes used in stadiums]." Romain added however, that people around him soon realized that the explosions were much stronger than that.

The game went on, but tension started to rise at half-time as the information spread around the crowd. "It was very weird, there was no announcement made in the stadium. I spent the second half watching Twitter," Romain said.

The second goal by France, who won 2-0, was celebrated by the crowd — though people were starting to realize that the situation was bad around the stadium and in Paris.


"After the game, I get out of my seat. People are running, a human wave. Everyone gathers on the grass. Some cry, some are panicking," Romain added. [Then] after the panic it was weird to see everyone getting to the subway quite normally."

(Photo by Etienne Rouillon)

The attacks prompted Hollande to declare a state of national emergency. French newspapers spoke of "carnage" and "horror." Le Figaro's headline said: "The war in the heart of Paris" on a black background with a picture of people being evacuated on stretchers.

Radio stations warned Parisians to stay at home and urged residents to give shelter to anyone caught out in the street. The hashtag #porteouverte (open door) started up on Twitter to offer people a place to stay.

Related: In The Streets of Paris Under Attack

The French capital was left reeling the day after the second mass attack in less than a year. Yet the exact sequence of gun and bomb assaults on the concert hall, a sports stadium and restaurants is still unclear.

The first blast was heard at 9:17pm local time outside the Stade de France. Spectators distinctly heard a second detonation about two minutes later.

1: Three kilometers North of Paris. at the Stade De France (4 dead reported). 2. Rue Bichat (14 dead reported). 3. Around rue du Faubourg du temple and Boulevard Voltaire (5-6 dead reported). 4. Bataclan concert hall (80 dead reported). 5. Rue de Charonne (19 dead reported).

German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that her country would help France to hunt down the perpetrators of the Paris attacks and that Berlin would jointly battle the fight against terrorism with France to defend European values.

"The people in Paris are enduring a nightmare of violence, terror and fear," Merkel said in Berlin.


"We, the German friends, we are feeling with them. We are crying with them. This attack on freedom is not only aimed against Paris. It's aimed against us all," Merkel said, adding that Europe would stand united to defend its values. "We know that our free life is stronger than terror."

UK Prime Minister David Cameron convened a meeting of his government's emergency response committee to discuss the attacks in Paris.

Britain's terrorism threat level has been at "severe," the second highest category, which means a militant attack is considered highly likely, since August 2014. A terminal at London's Gatwick airport was evacuated on Saturday morning. The airport said it was a "precautionary measure" that was "due to an incident," but did not offer details.

Due to an incident - the North Terminal has been evacuated as a precautionary measure. Extra staff on-site looking after passenger welfare

— Gatwick Airport LGW (@Gatwick_Airport)November 14, 2015

Italy is also adopting heightened security measures following events in Paris, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said, adding the risk of further deadly attacks should not be underestimated.

In a television address, Renzi also said Italy stood by France after the attacks, which he said were against "all of humanity" and against "our way of life."

(Photo by Etienne Rouillon)

In Palace Vendôme area, near the Louvre this morning, the streets were packed, with kids riding bicycles and many people outside drinking coffees and going about their business as usual.


"There is nothing left for us here," said a tourist who came from Switzerland with his wife. They planned to see an exhibit at the famous Georges Pompidou museum, but it was closed, along with nearly all public places today.

La Coupe D'Or, a cafe on Rue Saint-Honoré, was full of families and people drinking coffee and eating breakfast. The owner, a woman named Catherine, said there was never any talk of not opening today. She is heartbroken by the events, but grateful to be safe at work, calling it a welcome distraction.

"I prefer to be here in my shop than at home and worrying," she said, noting that she was especially distressed because the attacks happened so close to Christmas.

"Yesterday was Friday the 13th," she said. "A terrible sign."

Follow VICE News on Twitter: @vicenews

Reuters contributed to this report.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said France declared state of national emergency on Friday for the first time since World War II. There were five instances between 1955 and the recent attacks when a national emergency was declared.