The Friday Paris attacks (13 November) that killed 129 people and left more than 300 wounded, is the worst peacetime attack in France since the Second World War and also the deadliest day in Europe since 2004 Madrid bombings. A string of attacks throughout the city targeted bars, restaurants, a concert hall and a high profile football match between France and Germany began shortly after 9pm when people started enjoying a Friday night out. The attack on the 1,500-seat Bataclan concert hall was the worst of the attacks when terrorists opened fire on a sell-out gig by US rock group Eagles of Death Metal, killing at least 80 people.
All attacks were claimed by the Islamic State saying that they were only the “first of the storm” mocking France as a “capital of prostitution and obscenity”. IS further issued the following blunt warning: “Let France and those who walk in its path know that they will remain on the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State”. The style of the attacks is generally thought to be in line with the IS tactics of less coordinated killings of civilians unlike Al Qaeda, which is said to mostly avoid attacks that could lead to the death of Muslim people or noncombatant women or children.
France has responded to the attacks with a state of emergency, whose duration is not yet known. Moreover, a number of gatherings and cultural and sports events have been cancelled for the upcoming five days. While the French police believe that all gunmen are dead – seven blew themselves up and one was shot dead – it is not clear how many are still on the run. The European Union has expressed its condolences to the people of France. It reassured that anything that can be done at European level to make France safe would be done – “We will do what is necessary to defeat extremism, terrorism and hatred.” In the official statement, the EU also invited all Europeans to join in one minute of silence in memory of the victims at noon on Monday, 16 November.