Paris attacks: Targets were 6 very different venues

Spectators gathering on the pitch of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on Nov 13, 2015, after a series of gun attacks and explosions occurred across Paris.
Spectators gathering on the pitch of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on Nov 13, 2015, after a series of gun attacks and explosions occurred across Paris.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - The string of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on Friday (Nov 13) left more than 120 people dead, in the worst such violence in France's history.

The assailants struck at least six very different venues, ranging from the national sports stadium to a pizzeria, according to different media sources. The overall toll was expected to rise.

1. Bataclan Concert hall

A full house of 1,500 people were packed into the popular venue in eastern Paris for a concert by the United States band Eagles of Death Metal.

About an hour after the band took to the stage, the whole concert hall was turned into "a bloodbath" according to a French radio reporter at the scene.

Black-clad gunmen wielding AK-47s stormed into the hall and fired calmly and methodically at hundreds of screaming concert-goers.

 

Fellow radio presenter Pierre Janaszak heard the first shots and thought it was part of the act.

"But we quickly understood. They were just firing into the crowd."

He said he heard an attacker say: "It's the fault of Hollande, it's the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria."

Four assailants were killed after police stormed in - three by activating their suicide vests and a fourth shot dead - but not before they had mown down some 100 people.

2. Stade de France

Three loud explosions were heard outside France's national stadium during the first half of a friendly international football match between France and Germany.

At least five people died outside the glittering venue, which staged the 1998 World Cup final, with several others seriously hurt.

One of the explosions was near a McDonald's restaurant on the fringes of the stadium.

At least one of the two explosions in rue Jules-Rimet was a suicide bomb attack.

French President Francois Hollande, who was watching the game, was immediately evacuated.

The match was eventually completed and the stadium emptied in a relatively calm atmosphere.

3. La Belle Equipe restaurant

A little further east on Rue de Charonne, 18 people were killed, with one witness saying a restaurant was the main target.

"There was blood everywhere," the witness said.

Another man said he heard shots ring out, in sharp bursts, for two or three minutes.

"I saw several bloody bodies on the ground. I don't know if they were dead," he said.

4. Petit Cambodge and Le Carrillon restaurants

Shots were fired at people sitting at outdoor tables of two restaurants - Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant. 

Mr Pierre Montfort, who lives close to  Le Petit Cambodge, on Paris' Rue Bichat, said: "We heard the sound of guns, 30-second bursts. It was endless. We thought it was fireworks."

A woman who called herself Florence said she arrived by scooter a minute or so after.

"It was surreal, everyone was on the ground. No one was moving inside the Petit Cambodge restaurant and everyone was on the ground in bar Carillon," she said.

"It was very calm - people didn't understand what was going on. A young girl was being carried in the arms of a young man. She seemed to be dead."

5. Casa Nostra Pizzeria

A few hundred metres from the Bataclan, the terrace of the Casa Nostra pizzeria was targeted.

Five people were killed by attackers wielding automatic rifles, according to witness Mathieu, 35.

"There were at least five dead around me, others in the road, there was blood everywhere. I was very lucky."

6. Boulevard Voltaire

A judicial source said one of the attackers exploded his suicide vest on the Boulevard Voltaire, near the Bataclan. It is not yet known if there were any injuries from the explosion.