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Paris, 13 November 2015: a night of terror


France

Paris, 13 November 2015: a night of terror

It started at the Stade de France in the northern Paris suburbs.

As the French national team played an international friendly match against Germany, two clearly audible explosions went off in quick succession.

They were later revealed to have been suicide bombs going off outside the stadium. It is thought the first bomber had been prevented from entering the stadium by a security guard.

The crowd and players were kept unaware of what had happened until after the match – by which time far worse events were unfolding in the capital.

Some ten minutes after the first stadium blast, gunmen roamed a central district – mowing down people out eating and drinking at cafes and restaurants at the start of the weekend.

Three men armed with assault rifles stormed the Bataclan music venue, opening fire as the Eagles of Death Metal played on stage.

The audience fled or took refuge where they could, played dead or climbed out of windows to escape the horror.

The gunmen took scores hostage before blowing themselves up or being killed as special police forces launched their assault.

The next day the self-styled Islamic State claimed responsibility. Western decadence and French foreign policy in the Middle East were cited as reasons.

As France mourned the 130 dead and hundreds of injured, suspects were hunted, the ringleader killed in a police raid.

A home-grown network of extremists was identified, based in France and Belgium – where terror attacks claimed more lives in Brussels four months later.

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