James Franey is our correspondent in Paris. He’s been following the events overnight from the French capital and joins us now from near the Bataclan.
Most of these attacks happened in a fairly confined area east of the city centre, where you are now. It’s an area you know well, can you describe it?
James Franey: Who would have thought that ten months after the deadly attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Kasher supermarket in Paris that here we are again, the French capital rocked once more by a terror attack. The attacks last night began just after 9pm, the French president says it does appear that they were coordinated. A gunman started shooting at the bar “Le Carillon” in the Oberkampf area of Paris before crossing over into a Cambodian restaurant, opening fire and killing 12 people.
There were also other attacks in the area, another restaurant where 18 people were killed. All this happening at the same time as two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France where France were playing Germany in a friendly football match and according to French officials, that was an attempted suicide bombing and at least two of those attackers were killed.
The area of Paris where these attacks took place is very popular with young Parisians, it is where locals would go on a Friday night and you can see behind me the Bataclan which is where a concert was taking place, at least three gunmen burst in and it is reported that at least 127 people were killed in the series of attacks which took place last night.
Most of these attacks happened in a fairly confined area to the east of the city centre where you are now – it’s an area you know well, can you describe it?
Alasdair Sandford:You went to one of the hospitals where some of the many injured are being treated – what was the scene there?
James Franey: Indeed, I went to the Georges Pompidou hospital in the 15th arrondissement of Paris in the south-west of the city where a lot of the injured were taken. It seems that a lot of Parisians are heeding the call from their President Francois Hollande to stay united, that is a call, of course, that we heard after the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Kasher attacks earlier this year. There were long lines of people waiting to donate blood, that scene also replicated in other parts of Paris. Of course there were relatives, friends waiting for any kind of news of their loved ones but you can appreciate in these circumstances it was very difficult, many, many of those people were unwilling to appear on camera, you can only imagine what they must be going through. Very sombre scenes at the Georges Pompidou hospital though some kind of positive light in the sense that Parisians are standing united, the sight of long lines of people waiting to give blood is something that I will take away from that scene.
Alasdair Sandford: Can you describe the security operation in the area at the moment?
James Franey: There are a number of roads blocked across Paris. You will be aware that France has declared a nationwide state of emergency, that is the first time that has happened since 1961 and the Algerian War. France is at its highest level of security alert at present and there are, according to the French president, going to be border checks reinstated as they look to tighten up control of France’s borders. Prosecutors have opened an investigation into who exactly will have been behind these attacks, they currently have forensic teams going over the Bataclan concert venue, looking for possible clues, DNA fingerprints, any ideas that might allow them to put some names to these attackers who carried out these crimes just last night. It should be said that French President Francois Hollande has blamed the so-called Islamic State terror group for this act, describing it as an “act of war”, and just a few hours ago, according to Al Arabiya television, they received a statement from the militant group indeed in which they claimed responsibility for these attacks.
James Franey, covering events for us from Paris, thanks.