‘It’s a horror’: Hollande orders French borders closed after Paris terror attack leaves at least 40 dead

Police put the number of known dead at least 40
A hostage taking is reported at a music hall where up to 100 may be held
Shootings have left many dead at a pair of Paris restaurants
At least two suicide bomb attacks happened at a Paris stadium hosting a soccer match leaving three dead. It is unclear if that number includes the attackers
It is not yet known who is behind the attacks
Francois Hollande has ordered ’s borders closed in response to the attacks

NOTE: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES

Several dozen people were killed Friday in the deadliest attacks to hit Paris since War II, French President Francois Hollande said, announcing that he was closing the country’s borders and declaring a state of emergency.

At least 40 people died in shootings and explosions at multiple sites, many of them in a popular concert hall where patrons were taken hostage, police and medical officials said. The series of attacks gripped the city in fear and recalled the horrors of the Charlie Hebdo carnage just 10 months ago.

“We don’t know where this menace is coming from, but they are terrorists.” Hollande said and that “any means necessary” will be used to neutralize terrorists.

According to Le Monde, here are the three locations that were subjected to simultaneous shootings:

Le Petit Cambodge, a restaurant in the 11th Arrondissement
Le Bataclan, a venue in the 11th Arrondissement that is now the site of a hostage crisis.
La Belle Equipe, a restaurant in the 11th Arrondissement

Additionally, a police union official says there were two suicide attacks and a bombing near the national stadium where France and Germany were playing a friendly match.

The official, Gregory Goupil of the Alliance Police Nationale, whose region includes the area of the stadium, said there were at least three dead in the attacks near the stadium, near two of the entrances and a McDonalds restaurant. He said the explosions went off simultaneously. He did not provide more details.

200 soldiers have been dispatched into the 10th and 11th arrondissements, the epicenter of the attack. A state of emergency has been declared.

The Metro is closed, taxis have fled the downtown. Parisians are returning home on foot. Parts of the city are becoming eerily quiet.

The Prefecture of Police is advising Parisians to stay inside unless “absolutely necessary.”

#fusillade Ca tire à proximité doberkamf pic.twitter.com/tenRn1Ou8K

— Thibaut BUHRY (@Thibautbuhry) November 13, 2015

Francois Hollande, who was evacuated from the Stade de France, is now at the Ministry of the Interior to monitor the situation.

About a dozen doctors from Saint-Louis Hospital were at Le Carillon when the shooting began. One of them told Le Monde, “we were listening to music when we heard what we thought were firecrackers. A few moments later, it was a war zone. Blood everywhere. We tried to attend to the most grievously wounded. In total, we counted 10 dead.”

Twitter user Tommy Pouilly, whose apartment overlooks the site of the attacks, photographed at least four bodies prone on the pavement. Neighbours had thrown out floral print bedsheets to conceal the bodies, leaving only hands and feet visible.

“Total horror,” he wrote.

“Large number of shots heard from Le Bataclan. And they continue to be fired,” Benoit Tanaka reported at the outset of the of Le Bataclan attack. “Screaming in the street as people escape through the backstage.… We hear screaming as shots continue to be fired.… Huge explosion. The walls shake.”

By late evening, Paris police confirmed that they were dealing with a hostage situation at Le Bataclan, a small music venue hosting a sold-out concert by the Eagles of Death Metal. The Washington Post, citing a band member’s wife, reported that the band had escaped unharmed.

“We managed to run away, there was blood everywhere, they were firing a pump-action shotgun into the crowd,” a witness told French media.

At least sixty spectators are reportedly still held in the theatre.

AP Photo/Michel EulerAP Photo/Michel EulerPolice officers secure the Stade de France stadium during the international friendly soccer France against Germany, Friday, Nov.

The restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge was reportedly filled with foreign students when the shooting began around 7 p.m. local time. “One or two” cars were used in the shooting, according to witnesses.

Massive amounts of riot police are surrounding Le Bataclan. Officers are telling bystanders on the adjacent Boulevard Voltaire to get down.

Many of the dead at the Le Carillon appear to have been sitting outdoors. The shooting appears to have been a drive-by targeted at a Paris sidewalk café.

An emergency cabinet meeting is being held at midnight.

Parisians living in the vicinity of the attacks have been using the hashtag #porteouverte to let strangers into their homes to take refuge.

There is a 100 meter security perimeter around Le Bataclan.

An Associated Press reporter in the stadium Friday night heard two explosions loud enough to penetrate the sounds of cheering fans. Sirens were immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead.

Les gens ressortent du stade de France. pic.twitter.com/BPyiI5z9te

— Vincent Menichini (@v_menichini) November 13, 2015

Social media posts from purported ISIS supporters could indicate that “there was a group waiting for this, but it could be a group watching,” Chertoff said in an interview with MSNBC Friday night.

“I don’t think we can say this proves anything, but again it supports the idea that it’s terrorism,” Chertoff said.

John Cohen, a former Homeland Security Department counterterrorism coordinator, says the presence of multiple attack scenes at the same time suggested a coordinated effort to “send a message” and raises immediate terror concerns, including for other cities in Europe and potentially the United States as well. He said both Al Qaida and ISIS have relied on the strategy of coordinated attacks in the past.

The attack comes as France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks.

Au 90 rue de Charonne, un 7ème corps … pic.twitter.com/PGFh63cwTj

— Tommy Pouilly (@5h55) November 13, 2015

Emilioi Macchio, from Ravenna, Italy, was at the Carillon bar near the restaurant that was targeted, having a beer on the sidewalk when the shooting started. He said he didn’t see any gunmen or victims, but hid behind a corner then ran away.

“It sounded like fireworks,” he said.

France has been on edge since deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in January on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery that left 20 dead, including the three attackers.

#ParisUnderAttack rue bichat paris10 pic.twitter.com/q69ShHX0ww

— petemystrong (@pierre75010) November 13, 2015

One of the restaurants targeted Friday, Le Carillon, is in the same general neighbourhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices.

The country has seen several smaller-scale attacks or attempts since, including an incident on a high-speed train in August in which American travellers thwarted a heavily armed Islamic radical trying to attack passengers.

About The Associated Press, National Post Staff