By Ahmed Abbas
The “Islamic State” (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed dozens in Paris on Friday.
The group said in an official statement released on the Internet that “soldiers of the caliphate have targeted the capital of abomination and perversion”.
They also said in the statement that the attacks were carried out due to “airstrikes by France on Islamic State-held territory”.
French President François Hollande said the simultaneous attacks are considered an “act or war” by IS.
“This act committed by the terrorist army, Islamic State, is against who we are, against a free country that speaks to the whole world,” the French president said, stressing that France will be “ruthless” in its response to IS.
Around 127 people were reportedly killed in a series of attacks by gunmen and bombers on restaurants, a concert hall and a sports stadium at different locations across the French capital on Friday. Around 200 people were injured, including 80 who are in critical condition, according to French media.
Four gunmen attacked a rock concert at the Bataclan Hall and killed 87 people before security forces broke into the place and killed one of the attackers. The other three attackers were killed with a suicide bomb.
Meanwhile, four people were killed in an explosion near Stade de France where 80,000 people, including the French president, were attending a football game between France and Germany. Other attacks targeted restaurants and bars in different neighbourhoods in Paris.
The French president announced a national state of emergency and closed the borders in order to prevent the attackers from escaping. Around 1,500 army soldiers were mobilised to Paris to reinforce security in the city.
France also announced a temporary suspension of the Schengen agreement, which means it will control borders with its neighbours.
“We have to assure ourselves that no one can enter in order to commit any act, whatever that may be, at the same time that these crimes that have taken place can be stopped,” Hollande said in a statement.
In reaction to the incident, Belgium set more restrictions on foreigners entering its soil from France. Spain may raise the terrorism threat level after the attacks, reported the local El Pais newspaper.
The accident was condemned by world leaders. In a phone call between the French president and his American counterpart Barack Obama, both sides agreed to collaborate to fight terrorism.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi delegated the Egyptian ambassador to France to convey his sincere condolences to the political leadership, government and people of France, as well as to reiterate that Egypt stands in solidarity with France and supports international counter-terrorism efforts, according to an official statement.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said it was inevitable that talks would be affected. “Those events which occurred not far from here will absolutely cause adjustments in the agenda of today’s event,” she told reporters.
Across the world, landmarks have been lit red, white and blue, the colours of the French flag, to express solidarity, including New York’s World Trade Centre and the Sydney Opera House.