Mourning to raids: How France reacted in 5 days after Paris attacks
The blasts were the beginning of a series of coordinated suicide bombings and shootings targeting several popular Parisian recreational spots that killed at least 132 people.world Updated: Nov 19, 2015 12:45 IST
On the evening of Friday, November 13, three explosions ripped through the area outside the Stade de France stadium, while a friendly football international between France and Germany was underway.
The blasts were the beginning of a series of coordinated suicide bombings and shootings targeting several popular Parisian recreational spots that killed at least 132 people.
The targets included restaurants, bars and the Bataclan theatre, where three attackers killed at least 89 concert-goers and took others hostage for over two hours.
It was the worst terror attack on France and here is the lowdown on how the country has reacted in the last five days:
State of emergency and mourning
Soon after the attacks, on Friday midnight President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and ordered tighter border controls.
Visiting the Bataclan, Hollande said France will strike back at the jihadists “without mercy”. He announced the deployment of 1,500 additional soldiers in Paris.
Paris remained quiet: sporting events were called off and major tourist attractions closed. Public schools, museums, libraries, sports halls and food markets all remained shuttered.
But throughout the day people visited the sites of the attacks to pay homage to the victims with flowers and candles.
Hollande called the attacks an “act of war” and announced three days of national mourning.
In a parallel development, jihadist group Islamic State claimed responsibility, saying the attacks were in revenge for French air strikes on its targets in Syria.
Bombings in Syria
French warplanes pounded the Islamic State group’s de facto capital in Syria on Sunday, in the first such strikes since the Paris attacks.
A dozen warplanes dropped 20 bombs on IS targets in the Islamists’ stronghold of Raqa, signalling the French government’s resolve in its fight against the group.
The strike destroyed an IS command post, jihadist recruitment centre, a munitions depot and a “terrorist” training camp, the defence ministry said.
A minute’s silence, raids and talks of more attacks on Syria
France and other European countries observe a minute’s silence at noon on Monday.
Meanwhile, French authorities used the emergency powers to search scores of homes nationwide. They arrested 23 people, placed 104 under house arrest and confiscated 31 weapons.
Hollande said France will “intensify its operations in Syria”, hours after the first series of air strikes against the jihadists’ Syrian bases since Friday’s attacks.
Addressing a rare sitting of both houses of parliament, the President called on lawmakers to back a three-month extension of the state of emergency and called for constitutional reforms to boost the state’s ability to fight terrorism.
Raid in search of the ‘mastermind’
On Wednesday, French police launched a hunt for the suspected mastermind of the attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
They raided an apartment building near the Stade de France, in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, where they suspected Abaaoud was hiding.
A shootout ensued, followed by several explosions. A woman blew herself inside the apartment and another suspected jihadist was killed in the raid, while seven people were arrested.
‘France will remain a country of freedom’
Hollande on Wednesday urged his countrymen to defy terrorists by going back to their normal way of life, visiting cafes, museums and sports stadiums, and not caving in to fear and xenophobia.
“France will remain a country of freedom, of movement, of culture, an active, brave, dynamic country that doesn’t surrender to fear,” Hollande said.
Hollande vowed to work with allies to destroy the Islamic State group but warned against any form of xenophobic violence.
“We must be implacable against all forms of violence. No xenophobic, anti-Semite, anti-Muslim act must be tolerated,” he said.
A bill to extend France’s state of emergency for three months includes a measure that enables authorities to close “any association or gathering” - which notably includes mosques and community groups- that would encourage people to carry out terrorist acts.
The bill is to be debated by both houses of Parliament on Thursday and Friday and expected to be voted on by the end of the week.
Hollande also repeated his commitment to take in 30,000 migrants from Syria and Iraq, though he said asylum seekers would be checked to make sure that none posed a threat.
First Published: Nov 19, 2015 12:43 IST