Paris shootings, explosions leave at least 39 dead
At least 39 people were killed in a series of simultaneous gun attacks across Paris on Friday, as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was playing Germany in a football match.
Police have said that at least 15 people were killed at the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, only some 200 metres (yards) from the former offices of Charlie Hebdo which were attacked by jihadists in January.
Police said a hostage scenario was under way at the venue, which is in an area known for its busy nightlife.
Three people were killed near the Stade de France stadium in the north of the capital, police said, where the international football match was taking place.
An AFP journalist at the scene said two explosions were heard.
President Francois Hollande was evacuated from the stadium before the end of the match.
Spectators flooded the pitch as news of the attacks spread. Organisers started evacuating the stadium by three doors.
Another attack was reported at a Cambodian restaurant called Petit Cambodge, not far from the Bataclan venue in northeast Paris.
Counter-terrorism prosecutors said they had opened a preliminary investigation.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, called for residents to stay at home.
“We heard gunfire, 30 seconds of fire, it was interminable, we thought it was fireworks,” said Pierre Montfort, who lives near rue Bichat, where one of the attacks took place.
The toll “will be much heavier” than the initial confirmed deaths, a security source said.
“My sister is in the Bataclan,” said Camille, 25. “I phoned her. She said they opened fire. And then she hung up.”
“Everyone was on the floor, no one moved,” said one witness from the Petit Cambodge restaurant.
“A girl was carried by a young man in his arms. She appeared to be dead.”
An AFP reporter outside the Bataclan said there were armed police and some 20 police wagons with their lights flashing around the scene.
Hollande travelled to the interior ministry to set up a crisis cell with other ministers.
“The president of the Republic, the prime minister, the interior minister are in a inter-ministerial crisis cell,” the government said in a statement.
The president’s office said an exceptional council of ministers would be called at midnight.
European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “deeply shocked” by the attacks.
France has been on high alert since the jihadist attacks in January against Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket that left 17 dead.
Several other attacks have been foiled through the year.
More than 500 French fighters are thought to be with IS in Syria and Iraq, according to official figures, while 250 have returned and some 750 expressed a desire to go there.
The government announced last week that it was restoring border checks as a security measure for UN climate talks that start in Paris at the end of this month.