US & World

Paris attacks: France vows to punish Islamic State, CSULB student among at least 127 dead

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14:  A boy lights candles outside Le Carillon bar, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 350 injured, 99 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14: A boy lights candles outside Le Carillon bar, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 350 injured, 99 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14:  A boy lights candles outside Le Carillon bar, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 350 injured, 99 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14: Flowers and candles are placed outside Le Carillon bar, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 350 injured, 99 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital. (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14:  A boy lights candles outside Le Carillon bar, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 350 injured, 99 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
A person watches TV in Rennes as French president Francois Hollande adresses the nation on November 13, 2015 after a series of gun attacks occurred across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and closed borders . AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14:  A boy lights candles outside Le Carillon bar, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 350 injured, 99 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital.  (Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images)
Rescuers evacuate people following an attack in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital Paris, on November 13, 2015. At least 18 people were killed as multiple shootings and explosions hit Paris, police said. Police also said there was an ongoing hostage crisis in the Bataclan a concert hall in the French capital. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images


At least 127 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France's national stadium and a hostage-taking inside a concert hall. Another 200 or so were injured, dozens critically. French President Francois Hollande vowed to attack the Islamic State group without mercy as the jihadist group claimed responsibility Saturday for orchestrating the deadliest attacks on France since World War II.

This story is no longer being updated.

Updates 

 

2:36 p.m. Reporter talks to KPCC from Paris

A day after attacks in multiple locations killed over 120 people in Paris, Radio Television Suisse journalist and L.A. native Jordan Davis shared his experience from Paris with KPCC.

https://twitter.com/jordancdavis/status/665562294550700032

Davis, who has been in Paris for about a day following the attacks, lives in Switzerland but goes to Paris frequently and has many friends and family in the city.

“The city is really empty in a lot of ways, it’s a very odd atmosphere,” Davis told KPCC.

A lot of stores and monuments are closed and some streets are empty even in areas that aren’t very touristy, Davis noted.

https://twitter.com/jordancdavis/status/665541406954553344

“A lot of my friends …very few of them are going out on a Saturday night because there’s a pall in the air,” said Davis.  “But there are a lot of people on the terraces. A lot of people are also saying we aren’t going to let terrorists dictate what we’re going to do with our evenings.”

Those who go out, like Davis, may encounter some new sights and practices.  

Davis described soldiers walking around the city very slowly with machine guns and eyeing everyone as they pass by. While checking bags has been normal practice at Paris museums for several years, Davis said security guards are now checking bags at the supermarket.

https://twitter.com/jordancdavis/status/665544647486349312

A sense of resilience in Paris was also evident as “huge lines” formed at blood donation centers, Davis said. 

--KPCC's Paige Osburn with Jessica Hamlin 

12:52 p.m. LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis speaks out on CSULB student death

Following the news that one of the Paris attack victims was Cal State, Long Beach student and El Monte resident Nohemi Gonzalez, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis released a statement with her condolences Saturday. 

Solis, who represents the First District that includes El Monte, said:

My heart grieves for the victims of the Paris attacks. At these moments, we struggle to understand what motivates individuals to commit such heinous acts. Many will take this opportunity to generalize and demonize an entire people. This is the wrong route to pursue. Let us join together peacefully, united in our solidarity with the people of France as they heal from this terrible loss of so many innocent lives. Only through peace and dialogue will we triumph over the evil that instigates these violent acts that are purposely designed to divide us. I join Angelenos, and all people of goodwill, in prayers for peace and healing.
My prayers and thoughts are with the family of El Monte resident Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a Cal State Long Beach student who was studying at the Strate College of Design through a semester abroad program when she was killed during the terrorist attacks in Paris. I send my condolences to Nohemi’s loved ones as they grieve this terrible loss.

--KPCC staff

10:56 a.m. Cal State Long Beach student killed in Paris attacks

A California State University, Long Beach student attending a semester abroad program was killed in the Paris attacks Friday, according to a university statement.

Facebook: Nohemi Gonzalez

Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a native of El Monte, was a junior studying design. 

“I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Long Beach State University student Nohemi Gonzalez. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this sad time,” said President Jane Close Conoley in a statement. "Our university stands with our nearly eighty foreign exchange students from France as they struggle with this tragedy. We will extend all support necessary to comfort them. We will also extend support to all students, faculty and staff who are in need."

At a press conference Saturday, university Assistant Vice President Terri Carbaugh said Gonzalez had been at a restaurant when the attacks broke out.

The Long Beach Post reports:

“[...] To the best of our understanding, they were out at the time of the attack,” said Carbaugh. “One of her friends did see that she was shot by a terrorist, but [the friend] was able to flee. She did see that Nohemi was carried away on a stretcher, but she could not tell at that time, the outcome.”

You can see President Conoley's full statement below:

Video: CSU Long Beach press conference

Currently, 17 Cal State University, Long Beach students are in in Paris and the university is deciding whether or not to bring them home. 

CSULB will hold a candlelight vigil at 4 p.m. Sunday to mourn Gonzalez's death and the deaths of others in the attacks.

A previous version of this story misreported Gonzalez's age. KPCC regrets the error. 

--KPCC staff

10:12 a.m. Los Angeles law enforcement increasing patrols in light of Paris attacks

No specific threats have been made against Los Angeles following the attacks in Paris, but local officers are on heightened alert.

“Were making sure they monitor all our high-risk locations, all our critical sites, LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told KPCC. “You’ll see more officers out in uniform; they’ll be patrolling areas wherever there’s crowds. Of course critical sites, places like LAX, things like that.”

Smith also mentioned patrols at locations that are iconic to Hollywood or America and said undercover officers will be at events with large crowds such as concerts or sporting events.

Pasadena police have increased security with more uniformed officers and security guards at the Rose Bowl, once such venue that draws large crowds for sports and entertainment events.

“When something like this happens, terrorist related, we make adjustments,” Pasadena Police Lieutenant Art Chute told KPCC. “I definitely think it’ll have an effect on future events for a while, similar to the Boston bombing.”

Chute recommends people attending events at the Rose Bowl do not bring in bags and prepare to be searched.

He also urged attendees to report anything suspicious they see to law enforcement or Rose Bowl personnel.

--KPCC's Paige Osburn with Jessica Hamlin

6:47 a.m. Americans among the injured in Paris

A State Department spokesman confirms that Americans are among the injured in the Paris terror attacks.

The department's deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, says Saturday that "the U.S. Embassy in Paris is working around the clock to assist American citizens affected by this tragedy." He would not comment if any were killed.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, considered the deadliest on France since World War II. At least 127 people died Friday night in shootings at cafes, suicide bombings near France's stadium and a massacre inside a concert hall.

French President Francois Holland has declared three days of mourning and raised the nation's security to the highest level.

Assad says French policies influenced Paris attacks

Syrian President Bashar Assad says the policies of some Western countries — including France — in the Middle East are partly responsible for the expansion of terrorism.

He urged French President Francois Hollande to change his policies and "work for the interest of the French people." He criticized Hollande for ignoring that some of his allies support "terrorists" in Syria — a phrase he uses for all armed factions in Syria.

Assad says his country warned three years ago what would happen in Europe if the West continued to support "terrorists" in his country. He spoke Saturday as he met with French lawmakers in Damascus.

--AP

6:45 a.m. Paris attacks cast pall as world leaders head to G20 

The global anxiety sparked by a series of deadly attacks in Paris by the Islamic State group has given new urgency to President Barack Obama's upcoming talks with world leaders.

The Islamic State group has taken root in Syria. The crisis in that country was already high on the agenda for the meeting of 20 leading industrialized and emerging-market nations. But the violence in Paris that killed at least 127 people will dramatically change the dynamic of the talks in Antalya, Turkey. The seaside resort sits just a few hundred miles from the Syrian border.

--AP's Julie Pace

6:05 a.m. Islamic State group claims responsibility for Paris attacks

French President Francois Hollande vowed to attack the Islamic State group without mercy as the jihadist group admitted responsibility Saturday for orchestrating the deadliest attacks on France since World War II.

He said at least 127 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France's national stadium and a hostage-taking inside a concert hall. Another 200 or so were injured, dozens critically.

Hollande, who declared three days of national mourning and raised the nation's security to its highest level, called the carnage "an act of war that was prepared, organized, planned from abroad with internal help."

The Islamic State group's claim of responsibility appeared in Arabic and French in an online statement circulated by IS supporters. It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the admission, which bore the group's logo and resembled previous verified statements from the group. The statement mocked France's involvement in air attacks on suspected IS bases in Syria and Iraq, noting that France's air power was "of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris."

As Hollande addressed the nation, French anti-terror police worked to identify potential accomplices to the attackers, who remained a mystery to the public: their nationalities, their motives, even their exact number. Police said a Syrian passport was recovered from the remains of one suicide bomber outside the stadium.

Authorities said eight died, seven in suicide bombings, a new terror tactic in France. Police said they shot and killed the other assailant.

Prosecutor's office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said authorities couldn't rule out the possibility that other militants involved in the attack remained at large.

The violence raised questions about security for the millions of tourists who come to Paris and for world events routinely hosted in the normally luminous capital, where 1,500 troops were deployed to support police in restoring order and reassuring a frightened populace.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that all public demonstrations would be banned until Thursday and local governments would have the option to impose nightly curfews. He said police and military reinforcements would be deployed to key public buildings.

Many of Paris' top tourist attractions closed Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Disneyland theme park east of the capital.

Parisians expressed shock, disgust and defiance in equal measure. Hundreds of soccer fans departing the stadium Friday night waved French flags and sang impromptu choruses of the national anthem, "Le Marseillaise." The next morning, hundreds queued outside a hospital near the Bataclan theater, scene of the most appalling violence, to donate blood. As a shrine of flowers expanded along the sidewalk, a lone guitarist sang John Lennon's peace ballad, "Imagine."

Hollande said the attacks meant France would increase its military efforts to crush IS. He said France — which besides bombing suspected IS targets in Syria and Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition also has troops fighting militants in Africa — "will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group."

Reflecting fears in other European capitals of the risk of coordinated or copycat attacks, the British government mounted a meeting of its own emergency COBRA intelligence committee. Italy said it, too, was raising security levels on borders and major public places.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said British citizens were among the casualties in Paris, but he declined to provide specifics. He warned that the threat posed by Islamic State "is evolving."

Friday night's militants launched at least six gun and bomb attacks in rapid succession on apparently indiscriminate civilian targets.

Three suicide bombs targeted spots around the national Stade de France stadium, north of the capital, where Hollande was watching an exhibition soccer match. Fans inside the stadium recoiled at the sound of explosions, but the match continued.

Around the same time, fusillades of bullets shattered the clinking of wine glasses in a trendy Paris neighborhood as gunmen targeted a string of cafes, which were crowded on an unusually balmy November night. At least 37 people were killed, according to Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins.

The attackers next stormed the Bataclan concert hall, which was hosting the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal. They opened fire on the panicked audience and took members hostage. As police closed in, three detonated explosive belts, killing themselves, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot.

Another attacker detonated a suicide bomb on Boulevard Voltaire, near the music hall, the prosecutor's office said.

Video shot from an apartment balcony and posted on the Le Monde website Saturday captured some of that horror as dozens of people fled from gunfire outside the Bataclan down a passageway to a side street.

At least one person lies writhing on the ground as scores more stream past, some bloodied or limping. The camera pans down the street to reveal more fleeing people dragging two bodies along the ground. A woman and two others can be seen clinging to upper-floor balcony railings in an apparent desperate bid to stay out of the line of fire.

Le Monde said its reporter who filmed the scene from his apartment balcony, Daniel Psenney, was shot in the arm after he stopped filming, when he went downstairs to help someone who had collapsed in the alley.

A tall, sturdy 38-year-old concert-goer named Sylvain collapsed in tears as he recounted the attack, the chaos and his escape during a lull in gunfire.

"I was watching the concert in the pit, in the midst of the mass of the audience. First I heard explosions, and I thought it was firecrackers.

"Very soon I smelled powder, and I understood what was happening. There were shots everywhere, in waves. I lay down on the floor. I saw at least two shooters, but I heard others talk. They cried, 'It's Hollande's fault.' I heard one of the shooters shout, 'Allahu Akbar,'" Sylvain told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition that his full name not be used out of concern for his safety.

He was among dozens of survivors offered counseling and blankets in a municipal building set up as a crisis center.

Jihadis on Twitter immediately praised the attackers and criticized France's military operations against Islamic State extremists.

Hollande declared a state of emergency, announced renewed border checks along frontiers that are normally open under Europe's free-travel zone, and canceled a planned trip to this weekend's G-20 summit in Turkey.

France has been on edge since January, when Islamic extremists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had run cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. Twenty people died in those attacks, including three shooters.

French authorities are particularly concerned about the threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who have traveled to Syria and returned home with skills to mount attacks.

"The big question on everyone's mind is: Were these attackers — if they turn out to be connected to one of the groups in Syria — were they homegrown terrorists or were they returning fighters?" said Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president of the Washington-based RAND Corporation.

--AP's Sylvie Corbet, Angela Charlton

Associated Press reporters Raphael Satter, Lori Hinnant, Greg Keller, Sylvie Corbet, Jerome Pugmire, Philippe Sotto, Samuel Petrequin and John Leicester in Paris; Maamoun Youssef in Cairo, Jamey Keaten in Geneva, John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels, and Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin contributed to this report.