More details have emerged in the multi-pronged machine gun and bombing attack on Paris yesterday in six different locations.
For yesterday’s roundup please see Terror in Paris: “Several Dozen” Dead, Hostages Taken, France Closes Borders; Hey Chancellor Merkel.
ISIS Claims Responsibility, Syrian Passport Found on Attacker
The death total is now reported to be at least 150 by some sources, with hundreds more injured, nearly 100 of them critically injured. This morning ISIS Claimed Responsibility.
French President Francois Hollande vowed a “merciless” response to the deadliest attacks on the country’s soil since World War II as ISIS claimed responsibility Saturday for a coordinated assault on Paris.
A state of emergency was declared and France deployed 1,500 troops after a near-simultaneous series of explosions and shootings brought the city to a horrified standstill overnight. The death toll rose to 127 and 200 other people were wounded, officials said.
French police were hunting possible accomplices of eight assailants, who attacked concert-goers, cafe diners and soccer fans in at least six locations in the French capital. Authorities said that seven attackers blew themselves up, while the eighth was killed by police.
A statement issued by ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to global security firm and NBC News analyst Flashpoint Intelligence. ISIS has previously threatened France due to its military operations against the group in Syria and Iraq.
A French official close to the investigation confirmed to NBC News that a Syrian passport was found on one of the attacker’s bodies.
The Bataclan concert hall in the lively 11th arrondissement was the scene of the night’s worst carnage. Dozens of people there, according to the AP, when gunmen opened fire during a sell-out concert by American band Eagles of Death Metal.
The attackers held hundreds of people hostage before blowing themselves up. Footage obtained by Le Monde showed concert-goers hanging from venue’s third-floor windows while others ran for their lives out a rear exit.
French police stormed the venue after midnight, rushing wounded to waiting ambulances as sirens wailed.
Meanwhile, gunmen opened fire on diners at a string of cafes in a trendy neighborhood, which were crowded on an unusually balmy November night.
One Gunman Known Extremist
In a live feed, the Guardian reports One gunman was ‘French Extremist Known to Police’.
The Financial Times also has a Live Feed of events.
Le Pen Says France Must Close Borders, Kick Out Illegal Immigrants
The New York Times Live Blog contains these quotes from Le Pen.
- “France and the French are no longer safe. It is my duty to tell you so.”
- “Whatever the European Union might say, it is essential that France recover the control of its national borders, once and for all. Without borders, neither security nor protection are possible.”
- “Fundamentalist Islam must be wiped out. France must ban Islamist organizations, close radical mosques, and kick out foreigners who are preaching hatred on our soil, as well as illegal immigrants who have nothing to do here.”
Financial Times writer Gideon Rachman discusses “Global Consequences“.
The immediate political questions concern French involvement in the Middle East, as well as the impact of the attack on next month’s regional elections. The terrorists are reported to have shouted comments about the war in Syria. France launched its first air strikes on the militant jihadis of Isis in Syria in September, and has been involved in bombing raids on the group in Iraq for many months. It is highly unlikely that President François Hollande will respond to the terror attacks by calling off French involvement in the war on Isis. Indeed, in the short term, an intensification of military involvement is more likely.
The reaction of French voters in next month’s regional elections will be watched closely. Opinion polls were already suggesting that Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, will win in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region; her niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, has also topped some polls in the Provence region in the south. The National Front, which has a long history of hostility to Muslim immigration and which has also argued for the restoration of frontier controls, may well benefit in the aftermath of the attacks. Some of its arguments were, in any case, already seeping into the discourse of the traditional centre-right parties.
The terror attacks in Paris also come at a time when Europe is in the midst of a “migrant crisis”. With Germany set to receive more than 1m refugees this year — most of them from the war-torn Middle East — the domestic pressure on Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to close her country’s borders to new migrants was already mounting. Even before the Paris attacks, Sweden — which has taken more migrants per head than any other EU country — had announced a closure of its borders to new refugees, albeit as a temporary measure. In the aftermath of Paris, the Ms Merkel will surely be tempted to take a similar measure, easing the political and social pressure on her government. But she will also be aware of the dangerous knock-on effects such an action could have on Balkan countries further down the migrant route.
One possible consequence would be for western policy to focus even more tightly on the defeat of the jihadis of Isis while playing down subsidiary goals, such as the removal of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. But France has been in the forefront of those countries arguing that Mr Assad is at the centre of the problem of Syria. A complete reversal of the anti-Assad policy seems unlikely in the coming weeks.
Placing the Blame
- US meddling in the Mideast, especially the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, directly led to the creation of ISIS.
- US Drone policy by Bush, then greatly expanded by President Obama made more terrorists than it has killed. Thousands of innocent victims were killed or injured for every terrorist takeout.
- The US backed so-called Al Qaeda “moderates” attempting to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. In the civil war, millions of Syrians fled to Turkey.
- Chancellor Merkel welcomed those Syrians with arms, giving them free money at first, then vouchers for free food and shelter. Millions of refugees passed from Turkey through Greece and the Balkan states for those handouts.
- ISIS claimed in advance they would use Syrian passports to infiltrate Europe, yet nothing was done by Merkel. One of the attackers did have a Syrian passport. The threat was not idle, but was “recklessly ignored” as I warned just one day before the attack.
- In October, I noted former UK prime minister Tony Blair (who joined president Bush on the inane takeout of Saddam Hussein), Apologizes for Creation of ISIS .
So yes, there is plenty of blame to go around, starting with inept foreign policy by the US and UK, then Germany and Sweden.
Financial Times writer Gideon Rachman missed the boat on the major consequences.
Expect a major loss of freedom in the US with more wiretapping and spying on citizens.
Yet, note how useless all that spying has been. The NSA and similar organizations in Europe did not have a hint of this attack, the Charlie Hebdo attack, or countless other minor shooting globally.
And of course the US warmongers will use this as reason to halt the treaty with Iran even though ISIS is a Sunni extremist group backed by Saudi Arabia.
The really radical US nutcases will seek a war with Iran.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock