November 2015 Paris attacks

November 2015 Paris attacks
Part of Islamic terrorism in Europe and the spillover of the Syrian Civil War
13 November 2015 Paris attacks - montage.jpg
Public memorials for the victims, and police near the scenes of some of the attacks
Parisattacks.png
Locations of the attacks—stars denote suicide bombings
Location Paris and Saint-Denis, France
Date 21:16, 13 November 2015 (2015-11-13T21:16)  –
00:58, 14 November 2015 (2015-11-14T00:58)  (CET)
Target
  1. Near Stade de France[C 1]
  2. Rues Bichat and Alibert (Le Petit Cambodge; Le Carillon)[C 2]
  3. Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi (Café Bonne Bière; La Casa Nostra)[C 3]
  4. The Bataclan theatre[C 4]
  5. Rue de Charonne (La Belle Équipe)[C 5]
  6. Boulevard Voltaire (Comptoir Voltaire)[C 6]
Attack type
Mass shooting, suicide bombing, hostage taking
Weapons Zastava M70 assault rifles,[1][2] TATP suicide belts
Deaths 137 (130 victims[3][4] and 7 perpetrators[5])
Injured 416[6] (almost 100 critically)[7][8]
Victims Civilians
Perpetrators Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
No. of participants
9
Motive Islamic extremism,[9][10] retaliation against French airstrikes on ISIL[11][12]

The November 2015 Paris attacks were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks[13][14] that took place on Friday 13 November 2015 in Paris, France and the city's northern suburb, Saint-Denis. Beginning at 9:15pm, three suicide bombers struck outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, during an international football match, after failing to gain entry to the stadium. Another group of attackers then fired on crowded cafés and restaurants in Paris, with one of them also blowing himself up. A third group carried out another mass shooting and took hostages at a rock concert attended by 1,500 people in the Bataclan theatre, leading to a stand-off with police. The attackers were either shot or blew themselves up when police raided the theatre.[15]

The attackers killed 130 people,[3] including 90 at the Bataclan theatre.[16][17][18] Another 416 people were injured,[6][19] almost 100 critically.[7][8] Seven of the attackers were also killed.[5] The attacks were the deadliest in France since the Second World War,[20][21] and the deadliest in the European Union since the Madrid train bombings of 2004.[22] France had been on high alert since the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish supermarket in Paris that killed 17 people.[23]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks,[9][10] saying that it was retaliation for French airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.[11][12] The President of France, François Hollande, said the attacks were an act of war by Islamic State.[24][25][26] The attacks were planned in Syria and organised by a terrorist cell based in Belgium.[27] Two of the Paris attackers were Iraqis, but most were born in France or Belgium,[28][29] and had fought in Syria.[30] Some of the attackers had returned to Europe among the flow of migrants and refugees from Syria.[31][32]

In response to the attacks, a three-month state of emergency was declared across the country to help fight terrorism, which involved the banning of public demonstrations, and allowing the police to carry out searches without a warrant, put anyone under house arrest without trial and block websites that encouraged acts of terrorism.[33] On 15 November, France launched the biggest airstrike of Opération Chammal, its part in the bombing campaign against Islamic State.[34] The authorities searched for surviving attackers and accomplices. On 18 November, the suspected lead operative of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed in a police raid in Saint-Denis, along with two others.[35]

Background

France had been on high alert for terrorism since the Charlie Hebdo shooting and a series of related attacks in January by militants belonging to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,[23] and had increased security in anticipation of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, scheduled to be held in Paris at the beginning of December, as well as reinstating border checks a week before the attacks.[23]

Throughout 2015, France witnessed smaller attacks: the February stabbing of three soldiers guarding a Jewish community centre in Nice,[36] the June attempt to blow up a factory in Saint-Quentin Fallavier,[37] and the August shooting and stabbing attack on a passenger train.[38]

The Bataclan theatre had been threatened a number of times because of its public support for Israel.[39] Two Jewish brothers, Pascal and Joël Laloux,[40][41] owned the Bataclan for more than 40 years before selling it in September 2015.[42] In 2011, a group calling itself Army of Islam told French security services they had planned an attack on the Bataclan because its owners were Jewish.[39][43][44][45]

In the weeks leading up to the Paris attacks, ISIL and its branches had claimed responsibility for several other attacks: the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 on 31 October[46][47] and the suicide bombings in Beirut on 12 November.[48][49]

Intelligence agencies in Turkey and Iraq had reportedly warned of an imminent attack on France months beforehand, but said they never heard back from the French authorities until after the attacks.[50][51][52] According to The Irish Times, a senior French security official said they receive this kind of correspondence "every day".[50]

This was one of two terrorist cells sent to Europe by the Islamic State in 2015, the other cell consisting of three Syrians was apprehended by German special forces in Schleswig-Holstein in mid September 2016.[53]

Attacks

Three groups of men[27][55] launched six distinct attacks:[56] three suicide bombings in one attack, a fourth suicide bombing in another attack, and shootings at four locations.[57][58] The shootings were in the vicinity of the rue Alibert, the rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi, the rue de Charonne, the Bataclan theatre, and avenue de la République.[59][60][61] Three explosions occurred near the Stade de France, another on boulevard Voltaire, and two of the Bataclan shooters also detonated their suicide vests as police ended the standoff.[62] According to the Paris prosecutor, the attackers wore suicide vests that used acetone peroxide as an explosive.[63] French police reports on cellphones recovered from crime scenes suggested the attacks were being coordinated in real time from Brussels, Belgium, the location of origin of the terrorist cell that the Paris attackers were members of.[64]

Stade de France explosions

President François Hollande (pictured in 2013) was at the Stade de France during the attacks

Three explosions occurred near the country's national sports stadium, the Stade de France, in the suburb of Saint-Denis, resulting in four deaths, including the three suicide bombers.[65] The explosions happened at 21:16, 21:19,[note 1] and 21:53.[66] At the time, the stadium was hosting an international friendly football match between France and Germany, which President Hollande was attending.[67][68] The suicide bombers arrived slightly late for the game, and eyewitness reports indicated they did not have tickets, resulting in them being turned away by security guards several times.[64]

The first explosion near the stadium occurred about 20 minutes after the start of the game.[67][68] The first bomber was prevented from entering the stadium again after a security guard patted him down and found the explosive vest.[69] A few seconds after being turned away, he detonated the vest outside the security gate, killing himself and a bystander.[64][70] Investigators later surmised that the first suicide bomber had planned to detonate his vest within the stadium, triggering the crowd's panicked exit onto the streets where two other bombers were lying in wait.[71] Ten minutes after the first bombing, the second bomber blew himself up outside another security gate.[note 1][64] Another 23 minutes after that, the third bomber's vest detonated near the stadium. According to some reports, the location of the third explosion was at a McDonald's restaurant, where over 50 people were injured, seven seriously;[64][69][72] others state the bomb detonated some distance away from any discernible target.[73]

Hollande was evacuated from the stadium at half-time, while the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, remained at the stadium.[74][75] Hollande met with his interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve to co-ordinate a response to the emergency.[76] Two of the explosions were heard on the live televised broadcast of the match;[note 1] both football coaches were informed by French officials of a developing crisis, but players and fans were kept unaware of it until the game had finished.[77] Hollande, concerned that the safety of the crowd outside the stadium could not be assured if the match was immediately cancelled, decided that the game should continue without a public announcement.[71]

Following the game, fans were brought onto the pitch to await evacuation as police monitored all the exits around the venue. Security sources said all three explosions were suicide bombings.[23] The German national football team was advised not to return to their hotel, where there had been a bomb threat earlier in the day, and they spent the night in the stadium on mattresses, along with the French team, who stayed with them in a display of camaraderie.[78]

Restaurant shootings and bombing

The first shootings occurred around 21:25 on the rue Bichat and the rue Alibert, near the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement. Attackers emerged from a rental SEAT León, killed the driver of a car in front of them, and then shot at people outside Le Carillon, a café and bar. Next, they crossed the rue Bichat and shot people inside the restaurant Le Petit Cambodge. According to French police, an eyewitness said one of the gunmen shouted "Allahu Akbar".[64][74][79] A total of thirteen people were killed[80] at these locations, and ten others were critically injured.[81] Afterwards, the assailants fled in the SEAT León.[64] Doctors and nurses from the nearby Hôpital Saint-Louis were in Le Carillon when the attacks happened and supplied emergency assistance to the wounded.[82]

At 21:32, the attackers arrived outside Café Bonne Bière,[66] located close to the terrace of the Italian restaurant La Casa Nostra, on the rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi.[74] There, they shouted "Allahu Akbar" again and opened fire on revelers.[64] The Paris prosecutor said five people were killed and eight others were injured.[74] An eyewitness reported seeing a gunman firing short bursts.[83] The assailants then fled again in the SEAT León.[64]

At 21:36, the assailants arrived at the restaurant La Belle Équipe on the rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement. There, they fired for several minutes at the outdoor terrace, before returning to the SEAT León and driving away.[64][67][84] Twenty-one people were killed,[85] and seven others were left in critical condition.[84] Many of the deceased victims at the targeted restaurants and cafés were found to have been sitting on the outdoor terraces when they were shot.[64]

At 21:40, one of the attackers was dropped off by his accomplices at the boulevard Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement, near the place de la Nation.[23][64] He sat down at the interior terrace of the Comptoir Voltaire café, wearing a hooded jacket over several layers of clothing. After placing an order, he smiled at patrons and apologised for interrupting their dinner. Then, he detonated his explosive vest, killing himself and injuring fifteen people, one of them seriously.[64][84][86]

Bataclan theatre massacre

The Bataclan theatre in 2009

Beginning at around 21:50, a mass shooting and hostage-taking occurred at the Bataclan theatre on the boulevard Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement. The American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was playing to an audience of about 1,500 people.[87]

Three dark-clad gunmen armed with Zastava M70 AKM assault rifles[23][88] had been waiting in a black rental car near the venue for more than an hour.[64][87] The terrorists were three French natives: Foued Mohamed-Aggad, age 23; Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, age 29; and Samy Amimour, age 28. As the band was playing their song "Kiss the Devil", the three men got out of the car and opened fire on people outside the venue, killing three. Then, they burst into the concert hall and opened fire on the crowd.[64][87] Witnesses heard shouts of "Allahu Akbar" as the terrorists opened fire.[23][88][89] Initially, the audience mistook the gunfire for pyrotechnics.[90][91] The band ran offstage and escaped with many of the crew.[87][92]

Rows of people were mown down by gunfire or were forced to drop to the ground to avoid being shot. Survivors described hundreds of people lying beside and on top of each other in pools of blood, screaming in terror and pain. The gunmen also fired up into the balconies, and dead bodies fell down onto the stalls below. For a few minutes, the hall was plunged into darkness, with only the flashes from the assault rifles as the gunmen kept shooting. The terrorists shouted that they were there because of the French airstrikes against Islamic State.[87] Another witness who was inside the Bataclan heard a gunman say, "This is because of all the harm done by Hollande to Muslims all over the world."[93]

A radio reporter attending the concert described the terrorists as calm and determined and said they reloaded three or four times.[89] Two gunmen attacked the concert hall; one gunman would cover fire while another reloaded, to ensure maximum efficiency.[64] Whenever the gunmen stopped to reload, some of the crowd ran for the emergency exits, scrambling over each other to escape.[87] Some were shot from behind as they fled, and the terrorists laughed as they shot them.[94] Those who reached the emergency exit were shot by the third gunman, who positioned himself there.[64] Other groups of people barricaded themselves in backstage rooms. Some smashed open the ceiling in an upstairs toilet and hid among the rafters under the roof. Those who could not run lay still on the floor pretending to be dead. According to survivors, the terrorists walked among those who were lying down, kicked them, and shot them in the head if there was any sign of life.[87] The French Parliamentary report contains details of how female victims' bodies had been sexually molested, while others were mutilated, by eye-gouging, disemboweling, castration, and beheading; however, some French law enforcement officials have insisted that the injuries were caused only by gunfire and shrapnel.[95]

An eyewitness reported hearing the gunmen ask amongst themselves where the members of the Eagles of Death Metal were once the gunfire stopped.[64] Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefaï then went upstairs to the balconies, while Amimour stayed downstairs and fired at people who tried to flee.[64][87] The Brigade of Research and Intervention (BRI) arrived on the scene at 22:15, soon followed by the elite tactical unit, RAID.[96] At 22:15, the first two responding officers entered the building armed with handguns and encountered Amimour, who was standing on the stage. Amimour died after being shot by the officers and detonating his explosive vest. Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefaï then fired upon the officers, forcing them to withdraw and wait for backup.[64][87]

From this point, Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefaï took about twenty hostages and herded them into a room at the end of an L-shaped corridor located further in the building. They also seized the hostages' cellphones and attempted to use them to access the Internet, but they were unable to find a signal. Some of the hostages were forced to look down into the hall and out the windows and tell the terrorists what they saw.[64][87] During this time, Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefaï fired on police and first responders arriving at the scene.[97]

At 23:30, an elite police squad entered the building. One unit evacuated survivors from downstairs, while another unit went upstairs. They found Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefaï, who had begun using hostages as human shields. They shouted out to police the number of a hostage's phone. Over the next 50 minutes, they had four phone exchanges with a police negotiator, during which they threatened to execute hostages unless they received a signed paper promising France's departure from Muslim lands.[64][87] The police assault began at 00:20 and lasted three minutes.[96][98] Police launched the assault because of reports that Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefaï had started killing hostages.[23][89][99] Police using shields burst open the door to the room and exchanged fire with Mohamed-Aggad and Mostefaï while managing to pull the hostages one-by-one behind their shields. One terrorist detonated his explosive vest, and the other tried to do the same but was shot.[87]

Ninety people were killed, and hundreds of others were wounded.[17][18] Almost all of the deceased victims were killed within the first 20 minutes of the attack.[64] All of the hostages were rescued without injury.[100] Police dog teams from the Brigade Cynophile assisted with body removal because of concerns that there could still be live explosives in the theatre.[101] Identification and removal of the bodies took 10 hours, a process made difficult because some audience members had left their identity papers in the theatre's cloakroom.[102]

Perpetrators

Three groups, comprising three men each, executed the attacks.[27][55] They wore explosive vests and belts with identical detonators.[103] Seven perpetrators died at the scenes of their attacks.[5][104] The other two were killed five days later during the Saint-Denis police raid.

On 14 November, ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks.[105][106][107][108] François Hollande said ISIL organised the attacks with help from inside France.[26] Claimed motives were an ideological objection to Paris as a capital of abomination and perversion,[109] retaliation for airstrikes on ISIL in Syria and Iraq,[11] and the foreign policy of Hollande in relation to Muslims worldwide.[110] Shortly after the attacks, ISIL's media organ, the Al-Hayat Media Group, launched a website on the dark web extolling the organisation and recommending the encrypted instant messaging service Telegram.[111][112]

Fabien Clain released an audio recording the day before the attacks in which he personally claimed responsibility for the attacks. Clain is known to intelligence services as a veteran jihadist belonging to ISIL, and of French nationality.[113]

Syrian and Egyptian passports were found near the bodies of two of the perpetrators at two attack sites,[114] but Egyptian authorities said the passport belonged to a victim, Aleed Abdel-Razzak, and not one of the perpetrators.[115] By 16 November, the focus of the French and Belgian investigation turned to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the radical jihadist they believed was the leader of the plot.[116] Abaaoud had escaped to Syria[117][118] after having been suspected in other plots in Belgium and France, including the thwarted 2015 Thalys train attack.[119] Abaaoud had recruited an extensive network of accomplices, including two brothers, Brahim Abdeslam and Salah Abdeslam, to execute terrorist attacks; Abaaoud was killed in the Saint-Denis raid on 18 November.[120][121][122]

Most of the Paris attackers were French and Belgian citizens who crossed borders without difficulty, albeit registered as terrorism suspects.[29] Two other attackers were Iraqi.[28] According to the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, several of the perpetrators had exploited Europe's immigration crisis to enter the continent undetected.[31] At least some, including the alleged leader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, had visited Syria and returned radicalised. Jean-Charles Brisard, a French expert on terrorism, called this a change of paradigm, in that returning European citizens were themselves the attackers.[32] The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 3,000 Europeans have travelled to Syria and joined ISIL and other radical groups.[32]

On 30 August 2016, jihadist Abu Mohammad al-Adnani was killed by an American missile and DGSI declared that his death ended the terrorist who had supervised the attacks on Brussels and Paris.[123]

Search for accomplices

Three cars were recovered in Paris after the attacks:

  1. A grey Volkswagen Polo with Belgian licence plates abandoned near the Bataclan was hired by a French citizen living in Belgium and contained a parking ticket from the town of Molenbeek.[124]
  2. A SEAT was found in the Paris suburb of Montreuil on 15 November and contained assault rifles.[125]
  3. A Renault Clio hired by Salah Abdeslam was discovered near Montmartre on 11 November and contained assault rifles.[126][127]

Police described Salah, a 26-year-old Belgian citizen, as dangerous, and warned the public not to approach him.[128] He was arrested on 18 March 2016 during an anti-terrorist raid in the Molenbeek area of Brussels (see below).[129] His brother, Brahim, died in the attacks.[130] Another brother, Mohamed, was detained on 14 November in the Molenbeek area of Brussels and released after several hours of questioning.[131] Mohamed said he did not suspect his siblings of planning anything.[132]

On 14 November, a car was stopped at the Belgium–France border and its three occupants were questioned then released. Three more people were arrested in Molenbeek.[133] Links to the attacks were investigated in an arrest in Germany on 5 November, when police stopped a 51-year-old man from Montenegro and found automatic handguns, hand grenades and explosives in his car.[134]

On 15–16 November, French tactical police units raided over 200 locations in France, arresting 23 people and seizing weapons.[135] Another 104 people were placed under house arrest.[136][137]

On 17 November, police followed a female cousin of the attacker and ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, to a block of flats in Saint-Denis where they saw Abaaoud with her.[138][139] The next day, police raided a flat in Saint-Denis, and Abaaoud was killed in the ensuing gunfight, which lasted several hours.[120][121][122] Chakib Akrouh, one of the perpetrators of the restaurant shootings, also died during the raid after detonating an explosive vest.[140] Eight suspected militants were arrested at or near the flat.[141]

On 23 November, an explosive belt was found in a litter bin in the Paris suburb of Montrouge. It may have been discarded by Salah Abdeslam, whose phone records showed that he was in Montrouge on the night of the attacks.[142]

On 24 November, five people in Belgium had been charged on suspicion of their involvement in the Paris attacks, and Belgian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Mohamed Abrini, a 30-year-old suspected accomplice of Salah Abdeslam.[143] Abrini was subsequently reported to have been arrested on 8 April 2016.[144] He is also suspected of having been involved in the 2016 Brussels bombings.[144]

On 9 December, two ISIL militants accompanying two of the Paris attackers into Europe, all masquerading as migrants, were arrested in Greece weeks before the attacks.[145][146] In July 2016, a third militant involved was also arrested despite regular activity on Facebook from Belgium.[146][147] The three militants were part of a unit intended to carry out further attacks on 13 November, but their plans were apparently disrupted by the first two arrests.[146]

Fabien Clain was identified as the person reading the ISIL claim of responsibility. Clain is a French national who served 5 years from 2009 to 2014 in a French prison for recruiting fighters to go to Syria for jihad. Clain has been linked to other executed and planned terror attacks and is seen as a leader of known terrorists.[148]

Jawad Bendaoud was arrested 18 November 2015 for "criminal criminal terrorist association for the purpose of committing violent action", as he provided lodging for Abaaoud, Hasna Aït Boulahcen, and a third man. In September 2017, the prosecuting judge filed for Bendaoud's trial for "concealment of terrorist criminals", a charge with a maximum penalty of six years.[149][150]

Analysis of tactics

Michael Leiter, former director of the United States National Counterterrorism Center, said the attacks demonstrated a sophistication not seen in a city attack since the 2008 Mumbai attacks and that it would change how the West regards the threat.[151] Further comparisons were made between the Paris attacks and the Mumbai attacks.[152][153][154] Mumbai Police Joint Commissioner (Law and Order) Deven Bharti pointed out the similarities as having several targets, shooting indiscriminately, and the use of improvised explosive devices.[155][156] According to Bharti, one key difference was that the Mumbai attacks lasted several days, and the Paris attackers killed themselves as soon as capture seemed imminent.[157] Evidence points to the attackers having regularly used unencrypted communications during the planning of the attack.[158]

Casualties

Deaths by citizenship
Citizenship Deaths
 France 106[159]
 Chile 003[160]
 Belgium 002[161]
 Algeria 002[162][163][164]
 Portugal 002[165]
 Germany 002[166][167]
 Romania 002[168]
 Tunisia 002[168]
 Spain 001[169]
 Egypt 002[170]
 Italy 001[171][172]
 Mexico 001[160]
 Morocco 001[173]
 Sweden 001[90]
 United Kingdom 001[160]
 United States 001[173]
 Venezuela 001[168]
Total 130[3]

The attackers killed 130 victims and injured 416,[6][174] with 80 to 99 taken to hospital in serious condition.[7][8] Hours before the attacks, Paris's doctors had practiced a mass shooting emergency response rehearsal.[175] Of the dead, 90 died at the Bataclan theatre,[17][18] 21 at La Belle Équipe,[85] 13 at Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge,[80] five at Café Bonne Bière and La Casa Nostra, and one at Stade de France.[176]

Among those who died at the Bataclan were a music critic of Les Inrockuptibles,[177] an executive of Mercury Records France, and the merchandise manager of Eagles of Death Metal, the band that was performing.[168] Some people suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),[178] including a man who committed suicide two years after the attacks.[179]

Responses

Local

The hashtag #portesouvertes ("open doors") was used by Parisians to offer shelter to those afraid to travel home after the attacks.[180]

Civil service in remembrance of the attacks victims at the Place de la République on 15 November 2015

As had been the case in January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the Place de la République became a focal point of mourning, memorial, and tributes.[181] An impromptu memorial also developed near the Bataclan theatre.[182] On 15 November, two days after the attacks, a memorial service was held at Notre Dame Cathedral, presided over by the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, with several political and religious figures in attendance.[183]

Muslim organisations in France, such as the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, strongly condemned the attacks in Paris.[184][185][186] The attacks affected business at high-profile venues and shopping centres in Paris, and many Parisians were concerned the attacks might lead to a marginalisation of Muslims in the city.[187] There was not the same call for solidarity with Islam, as in January, following the attacks.[188] Sales of the French flag, which the French had rarely displayed prior to the attacks, increased dramatically after the attacks.[189]

On 4 December, the Bonne Bière café reopened, adorned by a banner with the defiant slogan "Je suis en terrasse" ("I'm on the Terrace"). A street cleaner told France 24 that the city had removed six truckloads of wilted flowers and several kilograms of candles from memorials placed around this and the other shooting scenes: "We didn't really want to get rid of things, but it feels a bit like a cemetery with all the flowers."[190]

National

President Hollande issued a statement asking the French people to remain strong in the face of the attacks.[191][192] He also visited the Bataclan theatre and vowed to "mercilessly" fight against terrorism.[76] Hollande chaired an emergency meeting of the French Cabinet that night and directed his national security council to meet the next morning.[76] The authorities urged the residents of Paris to stay indoors for their own safety and declared a state of emergency.[74][193][194] Hollande cancelled his trip to the 2015 G-20 Antalya summit because of the attacks, instead sending Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Michel Sapin as his representatives.[195] On 14 November, Hollande announced three days of national mourning.[196] On 17 November, Hollande convened a special Congress of the French Parliament to address the attack and lay out legislative and diplomatic plans he wanted to take in response to them. These proposals included an extension of the state of emergency for three months, changes to the French constitution, one of which would enable France to protect itself from dual citizens who might pose a risk, and an increase in military attacks against ISIL.[citation needed]

On 4 December 2015, the French government published a guide in form of a cartoon on how to survive a terrorist attack. The guide is to be posted in public places and be available online.[197][198]

In August 2016, minister of the interior Bernard Cazeneuve stated that about 20 radicalised mosques and further than some 80 hate preachers had been expelled from France since 2012.[199]

On 15 November, the French Air Force launched the biggest airstrike of Opération Chammal, its bombing campaign against ISIL, sending 10 aircraft to drop 20 bombs on Raqqa, the city where ISIL is based.[135] On 16 November, the French Air Force carried out more airstrikes on ISIL targets in Raqqa, including a command centre and a training camp.[200] On 18 November 2015, French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle left its home port of Toulon heading towards the eastern Mediterranean to support bombing operations carried out by the international coalition.[201] This decision was taken before the November attacks but was accelerated by the events.

French authorities regularly gave detailed information to US authorities on the whereabouts of high-ranking IS members in the Syria-Iraq zone to be tracked and killed. This cooperation led to American air strikes being able to kill the planners of 13 November 2015 attacks. United States authorities cooperate as they consider that if terrorist attacks hadn't happened in France, they would have happened in the US instead.[123]

Applications to join the French Army, which were around 100–150 per day in 2014, rose to 1,500 in the week following the attacks, higher than the rise to 400 after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January.[189][202]

All major political parties, including Hollande's governing Socialist Party, Marine Le Pen's National Front, and Nicolas Sarkozy's Republicans temporarily suspended their election campaigns for the upcoming French regional elections.[203] There was a nationwide minute of silence at noon which President Hollande and several ministers observed at a ceremony at the Paris Sorbonne University.[204]

On 18 November, Hollande reaffirmed France's commitment to accept 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years.[205] This was despite the doubts that the terror attack had sown in people's minds. His announcement drew a standing ovation from a gathering of French mayors.[206]

However, in the election campaign for the regional elections of France, to begin on 6 December 2015, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National party who is vying to be president of the Nord-Pas de Calais area, was recommending hardline security measures. She was getting a great deal of media attention with her strong anti-immigrant stance and may have been helping to sway public opinion across France. "The influx of migrants must be stopped," Le Pen told the CBC in an interview.[207] Le Pen was doing well in opinion polls as of early December 2015. Since the elections would start only weeks after the Paris attacks, she was thought to be getting dividends from the timing, when the fear of terrorism was still very strong.[208]

European Union

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, rejected calls to rethink the European Union's policy on migration. Dismissing suggestions that open borders led to the attacks, Juncker said he believed that the attacks should be met with a stronger display of liberal values, including internal open borders.[209][210] European Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini and EU defence ministers unanimously backed France's request for help in military missions.[211]

The United Kingdom has stated its intent to help France with operations in Syria,[212] while some countries intend to aid France by taking over activities in Africa. Germany announced sending troops to Mali and military trainers to Kurdish forces in Iraq, and has on 4 December voted in favour of deploying aircraft and a frigate in an effort to aid the French forces over Syria.[213][214]

The attacks prompted European officials to re-evaluate their stance on EU policy toward migrants, especially in light of the ongoing European migrant crisis.[215][216] Many German officials believed a higher level of scrutiny was needed, and criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while the German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel defended her.[216]

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that he would meet with EU ministers to discuss how to deal with terrorism across the European Union.[217] Meeting reports indicated that Schengen area border controls have been tightened for EU citizens entering or leaving, with passport checks[218] and systematic screening against biometric databases.

Poland's European affairs minister designate Konrad Szymański declared that he saw no possibility of enacting the recent EU refugee relocation scheme.[219][220] The new Prime Minister of Poland, Beata Szydło said she would ask the EU to change its decision on refugee quotas.[221][222] Szydło said Poland would honour the commitment made by the previous government to accommodate 9,000 refugees.[223][224]

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, rejected the concept of mandatory resettlement quotas.[225]

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka criticised President Miloš Zeman for supporting anti-Islamic groups and spreading hatred, according to Reuters, whose report added that the Sobotka government had been deporting migrants.[226]

Intelligence review

French police gathering evidence at the Bataclan theatre on 14 November

Shortly after the attacks, intelligence staff in multiple countries began to review electronic surveillance recorded before the attacks.[75] Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he did not know of any intercepted communications that would have provided warning of the attacks.[227]

One source said the French National Police met with German police and intelligence services a month before the attack to discuss suspicions that terrorists were staking out possible targets in France. The exact targets were not known at that time.[228]

Police in Germany stopped a car on 5 November, arrested its driver, and confiscated weapons that may have been connected to the Paris attacks.[229]

Some of the attackers were known to law enforcement officials prior to the attacks, and at least some of the attackers had residences in the Molenbeek area of Brussels, which is noted for its links to extremist activities.[27] A counter-terrorism expert said the fact that the perpetrators were known to authorities suggests that intelligence was "pretty good" but the ability to act on it was lacking. The number of Europeans who have links to Syria makes it difficult for security services to keep track of them all.[230]

On 26 December 2015, "Belgian newspaper De Morgen reported that a police oversight body, known as Committee P," is investigating why prior warnings from a school about the radicalisation of one of the attackers, Bilal Hadfi, were not reported to Belgian law enforcement.[231]

On 8 March 2021, Italian police arrested a 36-year-old Algerian man on suspicion of helping authors of the Paris attacks and for belonging to the Islamic State group. It was reported that he had "guaranteed the availability of forged documents" to the Paris attackers.[232]

Security changes

In France

In response to the attacks, France was put under an état d'urgence (state of emergency) for the first time since the 2005 riots,[25] borders were temporarily closed, and 1,500 soldiers were called in to help the police maintain order in Paris.[23][193][233] The plan blanc (Île de France) and plan rouge (global), two contingency plans for times of emergency, were immediately activated.[234][235][236]

Flights to and from Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport were mostly unaffected.[75] American Airlines delayed flights to Paris until further notice.[237] Many Paris Métro stations in the 10th and 11th arrondissements were shut down because of the attacks.[193][238] Uber suspended car hails in Paris after the attacks.[239]

All state schools and universities in Paris remained closed the next day.[240][241] Sports events in France for the weekend of 14–15 November were postponed or cancelled.[242][243] Disneyland Paris, which had operated every day since opening in 1992, closed its parks as a mark of respect for those who died in the attacks.[241][244] The Eiffel Tower, a Paris landmark visited by 20,000 people a day, was closed for two days.[241][245] Other venues that were to remain closed included shops and cinemas.[241] Protests were banned until 19 November,[241] while bands such as U2, Foo Fighters, Motörhead, and Coldplay cancelled performances in Paris.[246]

The week after 20 November, Hollande was planning to travel to the US and Russia to discuss greater international co-operation against ISIL.[247]

On 13 November, President Hollande declared the state of emergency.[25]

On 20 November, the Senate in France agreed to extend the current state of emergency by three months; this measure gave police extra powers of detention and arrest intended to increase security, at the expense of some personal liberties.[247] (For effects, see also: 2016 Nice truck attack#Raids and house arrests under state of emergency.) Some demonstrations of environmental activists during COP21, held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015, were prevented from happening under the state of emergency regulations, while others were allowed.[citation needed]

A next time, the state of emergency was extended until the end of July 2016.[248] Further extensions followed after the attack in Nice on 14 July 2016.

Belgium

Belgium immediately on 13 November tightened security along its border with France and increased security checks for people arriving from France.[74]

Starting on 21 November 2015, the government of Belgium imposed a security lockdown on Brussels, including the closure of shops, schools, public transportation, due to information about potential terrorist attacks in the wake of the series of coordinated attacks in Paris.[249][250][251][252][253] One of the perpetrators of the attack, Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam, was thought to be hiding in the city. As a result of warnings of a serious and imminent threat, the terror alert level was raised to the highest level (four) across the Brussels metropolitan area, and people were advised not to congregate publicly, effectively putting the city under lockdown.[249][250][252][253]

International

Cities in the United States took security precautions, especially at sites where large crowds were expected, as well as sports events, concerts, the French embassy and other French government sites.[254][255] William J. Bratton, the New York City Police Commissioner, said the Paris attacks have changed the way law enforcement deals with security.[256] Singapore raised its national security alert level, stepping up border checks and security across the city-state.[257] Police and military authorities in Manila were placed on full alert in preparation for the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.[258]

International reactions

Flower tributes outside the French Embassy in Luxembourg City

Many heads of state and heads of government, as well as the United Nations, offered messages of condolence and solidarity in the wake of the attacks.[259][260][261]

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that made it more difficult for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the United States.[262] At least 31 governors of U.S. states declared they would refuse to accept Syrian refugees.[263]

Muslim officials

Muslim heads of state, scholars, imams, leaders and groups condemned the attacks, many before ISIL claimed responsibility.[264] These included the imam who heads the University of Al-Azhar in Egypt; the Supreme council of Religious Scholars in Saudi Arabia;[265] Iranian president Hassan Rouhani[266] and the Ahmadiyya caliph Mirza Masroor Ahmad.[267]

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad condemned the attacks, but added that France's support for Syrian rebel groups had contributed to the spread of terrorism.[268] France had been a particularly vocal opponent of Assad during the Syrian civil war.[269]

Ahrar ash-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam, the major mainstream Islamist rebels against the Syrian regime, both condemned the attacks.[270] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, condemned the attacks, and expressed his solidarity with the French people.[271] Other militant groups also condemned the attacks, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.[272]

The al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, praised the attacks, saying that even though they viewed ISIL as "dogs of hellfire," they applauded when "infidels" get attacked by ISIL.[270]

Related incidents

Hannover bombing plot

A few days after the attacks, on 17 November, a football friendly set to be played at HDI-Arena in Hannover between Germany (who had just been present at the Stade de France during the Paris attacks) and the Netherlands was cancelled and thousands of football fans evacuated from the arena following a bomb threat.[273] The match, having been hailed as a "symbol of freedom" after the Paris attacks, was set to be attended in a show of solidarity with France by German chancellor Angela Merkel, vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, several other German government ministers, as well as Dutch defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and health and sport minister Edith Schippers.[273]

According to a French intelligence dossier, five bombings had been prepared to be detonated at or around the stadium by a named five-member terror cell in a series of coordinated bomb attacks.[274] German authorities refused to give more details on findings, with Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere claiming that "some of these answers would alarm the public."[274] While police claimed to not have found any explosives, German newspapers published allegations of a cover-up, which claimed that a paramedic had witnessed explosives hidden in an ambulance at the stadium, before being told by special forces at the scene "to not talk about it."[274] Another newspaper claimed it had been a truck bomb disguised as an ambulance.[275][276] Three police officers were disciplined for leaking information about alleged bomb finds.[274]

At the same time also in Hannover, the TUI Arena was evacuated before a concert by the band Soehne Mannheims, and a train station was closed off after a suspicious device was found.[275][276] Later the same evening, two Air France flights headed from the United States to Paris were diverted because of bomb threats.[277] The events followed the previous day, when a football match set to be played in Brussels between Belgium and Spain had also been cancelled over security concerns.[275][276]

2016 Brussels raids

On 15 March 2016, Belgian police carried out a raid on a house in the suburb of Forest in Brussels. A police statement said that the raid was related to the Paris attacks.[278][279] Four police officers were wounded in the raid, and a manhunt for escaped suspects followed.[280][281]

On 18 March 2016, there were further raids in the Molenbeek area of Brussels.[282] Two suspects were reportedly injured in one such raid and a third suspect was killed.[citation needed] Five people, one identified as Salah Abdeslam, suspected accomplice in the Paris attacks, were arrested during the raid.[283][284][285]

Media depictions

One of the people who was present in the Bataclan theatre on 13 November 2015 during the terrorist attacks was a French artist who works under the pseudonym Fred Dewilde. In October 2016 he published a graphic novel about his firsthand experience of these tragic events, named Mon Bataclan.[286][287][288] On 6 June 2018 Gédéon and Jules Naudet released the documentary November 13: Attack on Paris.[289]

See also

Copyright