France under attack

Israelis rally in solidarity with Paris after 129 people were killed in the terror rampage

By now you will all have heard about the multiple terror attacks carried out in Paris on Friday night. The numbers involved are almost too shocking to contemplate, with 129 dead and hundreds injured, resembling more the figures that we are used to seeing in terror attacks in Syria or Iraq, but never on mainland Europe.

The bare facts of the timeline are as follows, from the France 24 link above:

Simultaneous shootings and explosions take place across Paris starting at 9:20pm (8:20pm GMT).

Three explosions take place near the Stade de France stadium during a friendly match between France and Germany attended by some 80,000 spectators, including French President François Hollande, who was immediately evacuated. Spectators were told to move out onto the pitch to await further instructions from security forces. One person was killed in the blast along with three suicide bombers.

President Hollande receives a phone call during the football match informing him of the terror attacks

In the 10th district (arrondissement) of Paris, 12 people are killed on the terrace of popular Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge.

On rue de Charonne in the 11th district, 18 people are killed in gunfire that witnesses said lasted for two or three minutes.

At the Bataclan concert hall, where the California-based group Eagles of Death Metal were performing, several armed men open fire on the audience, crying “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and take hostages.

In the 11th district near to iconic Place de la République, five people are killed on the terrace of pizzeria La Casa Nostra.

Another attack in which one is killed happened at the same time on the other side of Place de la République. One suicide bomber is killed.

The Times of Israel blogged  the terror attacks as they unfolded.

PREAMBLE: At least 127 people were killed in Paris on Friday night, with 180 people injured, 80 of them seriously, police sources said Saturday after a series of coordinated shootings and bombings that were the bloodiest attacks in Europe since the Madrid train bombings in 2004.

The death toll does not include at least eight terrorists killed during the attacks. All of the known attackers were wearing explosives belts.

France was in a nationwide state of emergency Saturday after a night of horror in Paris when gunmen sprayed restaurants with bullets, massacred scores of concert-goers and launched suicide attacks near the national stadium.

Armed with AK47s and shouting “Allahu akbar”, four of the terrorists marched into a rock concert at the Bataclan venue in eastern Paris, murdering at least 82 people and taking dozens hostage.

“They didn’t stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. Everyone was trying to flee,” said Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter who was at the concert by US rock band Eagles of Death Metal.

One can get an idea of  the actual horror involved from these videos:

President Francois Hollande blamed ISIS for the terror attacks and has declared a national state of emergency. Meanwhile the police fear there are more attackers on the loose as one of the cars used in the attacks is found east of Paris.

A car used by the terrorists who sprayed machine gun fire in one of the locations of the terror attack in Paris on Friday was found in a suburb east of Paris this morning.

According to reports in several media outlets, the black Seat vehicle was used by the gunmen.

In Brussels a man was arrested who rented a car that later appeared at the scene of the deadliest attack in the Bataclan club.

French police are still hunting for terrorists and are working on the assumption that some of them are still at large.

Security has been stepped up around Europe, including the deployment of SAS soldiers on the streets of London.

One of the terrorists has been identified as a French national who probably travelled to Syria at some point. He was on a watch list – which obviously didn’t watch him closely enough.

One of the other terrorists had a Syrian passport that matched that used by a refugee arriving via Greece – which could have severe implications fro the huge wave of Syrian refugees (many of whom are not Syrian and are not refugees) flooding into Europe right now:

A Syrian passport found at the scene of the Paris attacks matched that used by a refugee who arrived on the Greek island of Leros last month, the Greek deputy public security minister has said.

The statement, made after French police shared details with European intelligence agencies of the clues they had picked up so far as to the killers’ identities, is the first link to a terrorist attack from the waves of migrants heading across the continent.

Experts warned that the passport could have been stolen or bought in a well-established black market. One US intelligence official told CBS News the passport did not contain the correct numbers for a legitimate Syrian passport and the picture did not match the name and suggested it was fake.

But if one of the terrorists masqueraded as a migrant, it will be a development long feared both by European governments, aware that the hundreds of thousands of people arriving from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were likely to include security risks, and refugee agencies, afraid of a popular backlash.

Reports suggested two of the attackers were Belgian. One witness said he saw two black cars, of which one carried a Belgian number plate, and police were searching addresses in Molenbeek, Belgium, after police found a parking ticket from the city on a suspect’s car.

The Bataclan Theatre in better days

The “Jewish angle” to these attacks (there is nearly always such an angle) is that the Bataclan Theater, scene of the worst of the terror attacks, was Jewish owned until recently and therefore may have been deliberately targeted. Furthermore it has been the target of ongoing BDS boycott attempts for years. In another twist of irony, the band performing at the concert, the Eagles of Death Metal, recently performed in Israel after defying a call for a boycott by the Israel-hating antisemite Roger Waters of the Pink Floyd band.

The Bataclan theater, targeted in Friday night’s Paris terror attacks, was Jewish-owned for decades, but was sold two months ago, its former owners said.

French magazine Le Point said early Saturday that the Bataclan, where at least 80 people were massacred by Islamic State gunmen on Friday night, has for years been the target of anti-Zionist groups as the Jewish owners often put on pro-Israel events. The publication quoted a member of the extremist group Army of Islam, who told French security services in 2011 that, “We had planned an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jews.”

Scene of carnage at the Bataclan Theatre on Friday night

The Eagles of Death Metal, the band performing at the theater when the attacks began, played in Tel Aviv’s Barby club in July.

Pascal Laloux, one of the theater’s former owners, said Saturday that the theater was “sold in September after 40 years.”

“We’re devastated because we knew everyone who worked there,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 news.

His brother Joel, the co-owner, told Channel 2 that they sold the theater on September 11, and he recently immigrated to Israel. He said he took a call from the theater at the time of the attack “and I could hear the gunfire.”

It really should be an axiom for the whole world to learn and repeat – what starts with Jews does not end with the Jews.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people and the victims of this terrorist outrage. I wish the bereaved families comfort and strength, and a speedy recovery to the injured.

The people of Israel stand with the French in combatting this Islamic terror, but the world must first open its eyes to the unpleasant reality staring it in the face.

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