WASHINGTON– It was surreal. Terrifying and surreal. Those are the words that fit what happened in Paris on Friday night.
One moment 21 year old Parisian student Jad Zahab, was in a theatre, spending the evening watching manufactured movie mayhem in the latest James Bond movie.
Then, the Twitter account on his phone erupted with messages about the carnage going on just 5 kilometers away in the Bataclan concert hall. Terrorists were picking off helpless audience members with gunfire and deploying explosives. By the time Zahab got out of the movie theater and onto the street, there were no cabs available, and the streets were emptying.
“In Paris on Friday nights, people are on the streets. There are people walking, people having fun, people drinking,” Zahab says. But this Friday night, as police sped to the six sites of carnage throughout Paris and residents hunkered down for safety, he said “There was nobody left on the streets–that was really, really frightening.”
Zahab had friends who were attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan, the concert hall where so many of the victims of the terrorist attacks were killed. “They thought the shots were part of the show, and then they realized it was not the show—it was an attack.” Zahab says through Twitter posts and texts, he was able to learn that his friends escaped. “They had to walk between dead bodies,” he explained, trying to grasp the horror of the scene. “You never can put in your mind that such a thing is possible.”
A French judicial official says a Seat car with suspected links to Friday’s deadly Paris attacks has been found by police in Montreuil, a suburb 6 kilometers (nearly 4 miles) east of the French capital.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not publicly authorized to speak, could not immediately confirm if this was the same black Seat linked to the gun attacks on the Le Carillon bar and the Le Petit Cambodge restaurant in Rue Alibert in the city’s 10th district.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Saturday that gunmen armed with automatic weapons pulled up in that model of car before opening fire, killing 15 people and injuring 10.
The Islamic state group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people and wounded over 350.
—AP reporter Thomas Adamson in Paris.
A French judicial official says among those arrested and being questioned in the Paris attacks investigation was a brother of one of the seven suicide bombers.
No one answered the door Sunday morning at the brother’s home in the French town of Bondoufle, outside of Paris, but neighbor Eric Pudal said roughly 20 heavily armed police swooped in on the home Saturday evening.
Pudal said he was startled by the arrest, describing the family, which recently welcomed a baby daughter, as “very nice, very sociable.”
Pudal said he had never met the reported suicide bomber, Ismael Mostefai, and had never heard him being discussed by his neighbors.
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders gathering for a major summit in the shadow of a horrifying terror spree in Paris are looking to answer a critical question: Beyond tough talk, how will the world respond to bloodshed now extending far beyond the Islamic State group’s foothold in the Middle East?
The specter of the Islamic State threat and Syria’s civil war hanged over the Turkish seaside city of Antalya on Sunday as leaders descended for the Group of 20 summit of leading rich and developing nations. Although the overlapping crises were already on the lineup for the two days of talks, they were thrust to the forefront by elaborately coordinated attacks that killed 129 in the French capital just two days earlier, in the deadliest attack in the West blamed on the extremist group.
Jolted to attention by carnage, leaders in Europe, the United States and beyond have pledged to step up the response, with French President Francois Hollande vowing a “merciless” war on the Islamic State. Yet there were few signs of an emerging consensus about exactly what that means.
LA GARENNE-COLOMBES, France (AP) — In 2008, Philippe Juvin worked for several months as an anesthesiologist with French troops in Afghanistan. Nothing he handled there was as difficult as his night in Paris when terror attacks killed at least 129 people.
Juvin, the head of the emergency department at Georges Pompidou hospital, said he was called back to work about two hours after the attacks started Friday. The first thing he did was send patients who did not need emergency care home.
“I went to the waiting room and told them they should leave and see their general practitioner the day after,” Juvin told The Associated Press. “I also made sure that those who needed to be seen quickly were transferred to smaller hospitals for appropriate treatment.”
The victims arrived in waves between 2 and 3 a.m. They were mostly young people shot when gunmen attacked the Bataclan concert hall during a rock show.
“They were all silent. They couldn’t say a word,” Juvin said. “They were paralyzed by what they saw.”
Doing so achieves numerous aims for the group, not least of which could be winning it clout to attract even more recruits. Others may include sharpening divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe — and forcing the West into a difficult choice of either backing off or being drawn into what IS would see as a holy war in Syria and Iraq.
Coming soon after the Islamic State group claimed the downing of the Russian plane in Egypt and deadly suicide bombings in Lebanon and Turkey, the Paris attacks appear to signal a fundamental shift in strategy toward a more global approach that experts suggest is likely to intensify.
“The message is that this is an open war, not restricted to the conflict zone in Iraq and Syria,” said Bilal Saab, a resident senior fellow for Middle East Security at Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Until now, the militant Sunni group had mostly focused on its internal rivals — Bashar Assad’s regime and rival Muslim Shiites, which the group considers to be heretics.
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