On Friday, November 13th, residents of the beautiful city of Paris suffered through what will go down in history as one of the worst acts of violence in France since World War II. The orchestrated attacks were carried out by eight members of the extremist group ISIS at seven predetermined locations of the French capital. The targets that included restaurants, bars, a soccer stadium and concert theater were carefully selected to cause maximum damage.
The first indication of trouble came at about 9:20 pm when two explosions were heard outside France's national stadium, the Stade de France where a friendly soccer match between France and Germany was being played. Officials later discovered that security guards had detected an explosives vest on one of the terrorists as he was trying to enter the stadium. According to the witness, the attacker detonated his vest while backing away from the security officers. A second terrorist did the same a few minutes later. While the detonations did result in the loss of one innocent life, things would have been a lot worse had the terrorists been allowed into the stadium.
Meanwhile, two other groups began spraying bullets at patrons seated on the terraces of restaurants and bars in the city's 10th and 11th arrondissements. By the time the barrage ended, 37 innocent people who had been enjoying the unseasonably warm November evening had lost their lives, and scores more were injured.
At 9:50 pm the two groups joined forces at the Bataclan concert hall that was filled to capacity with 1,500 music lovers enjoying a performance by US rock group Eagles of Death Metal. According to witnesses, the black-clad gunmen who looked to be in their early to mid-twenties walked in and began firing calmly and methodically at the terrified crowd for about ten minutes.
They then rounded up over a hundred survivors and held them hostage for over two hours. At about 12:15 am, French authorities stormed in. Within a few minutes, it was all over. Three of the attackers detonated their explosives vests while one was killed by the police. Officials estimate that 81 concert-goers lost their lives.
Two additional detonations involving single terrorists were reported at 9:45 pm and 9:50 pm - One at a restaurant up the road from the concert hall and the other, near a McDonalds close to the stadium. Fortunately, neither caused any casualties. By the time the carnage ended, 129 people (including the eight terrorists) had lost their lives and 352 had sustained injuries, 99 of which are critical.
As the residents of Paris recover from this tragedy, they will find some strength and solace in the knowledge that the world is behind them. From the tremendous outpouring of support on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to the red white and blue glow reflected on monuments worldwide, Parisians are on everyone's mind and prayers. Stay strong Paris!
Resources: cnn.com, telegraph.co.uk,foxnews.com, yahoonews.com