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Paris attacks: At least 153 killed in gunfire and blasts, French official says

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PARIS — The police assault on the Bataclan theater is over, Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman told CNN early Saturday.

At least 153 people were killed in the Paris and Saint-Denis shootings and bombings, French officials said. Among the victims, 112 were killed at the Bataclan concert venue, according to the Interior Ministry. Saint-Denis is home to the national stadium where the match was being played.

Four attackers were killed, three of whom were wearing explosive belts at the concert venue, a police official said. Officials said the attacks seemed to be planned to hit areas where many people would be gathered on a Friday night.

A total of six locations were attacked in and just outside the French capital, Paris prosecutor François Molins told reporters Saturday.

The death toll in Paris was in the 40s, but Deputy Mayor of Paris Patrick Klugman said authorities expect “a much more higher figure,” “We are facing an unknown and historic situation in Paris,” he said.

Michael Dorio, brother of a member of the band that was playing at the Bataclan concert, said he spoke to Eagles of Death Metal drummer Julian Dorio about 20-30 minutes after the attack. “He said he had been performing and heard the gunshots. They stopped playing and hit the deck and went backstage and exited,” Michael Dorio told CNN.

Inside the Bataclan concert venue shooting:

It was “a bloodbath,” Julien Pearce says.

The radio reporter was at the Bataclan, an oriental-style theater and concert hall in Paris’ 11th district Friday night, listening to American rock band Eagles of Death Metal perform when gunmen stormed the venue.

“People yelled, screamed,” Pearce told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday on “The Situation Room.”

“It lasted for ten minutes. Ten, horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head,” he said.

The theater has a capacity of 1,500, Cyril Vanier, a reporter with France 24, told CNN.

Pearce saw two people he called terrorists enter the theater, “very calm, very determined” and firing “randomly.”

The city of Paris, France is shut down after numerous terrorist attacks; the country itself has closed all borders after the attacks, which began around 9 p.m.
French President Francois Hollande, in an address to the nation, said he had declared a state of emergency, meaning borders will be closed.

President Francois Hollande called the events “unprecedented terrorist attacks” and added, “This is a horror.” In a tweet, he said, “Faced with terror, this is a nation that knows how to defend itself, how to mobilize its forces and once again, knows how to overcome the terrorists.”

The Paris prefecture of police is instructing residents to stay home. The prefecture said via Twitter that people should stay inside “unless there’s an absolute necessity.”

Restaurant shooting: 

Charlotte Brehaut and a friend were dining in Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant, when the shooting started from the street, she told CNN. “All of a sudden we heard huge gunshots and glass coming through the windows. We ducked with the other diners,” she said. She grabbed the arm of a woman on the floor. The woman didn’t respond. The woman was shot in the chest and there was blood all around her.

At least 14 people were killed in Le Petit Cambodge, French authorities said.

Other reaction: 

There is great alarm over the apparent methodology and likely planning that would have been needed to pull off such a series of attacks, one U.S. counter-terrorism official told CNN. The attacks resembled tactics that have been used by a number of terror groups — including al Qaeda’s focus on mass casualty and visibility, and the small, tactical nature of attacks that are more the hallmark of ISIS and its acolytes. It is still not clear who is responsible.

U.S. citizens in Paris who are safe are being asked by the State Department to call their families. Those Americans in France needing assistance should call 001-202-501-4444. Americans concerned about loved ones in Paris should call 1-888-407-4747. An official told CNN the hotline was flooded with calls.

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