As France and the world begins to get a clearer picture of yesterday’s coordinated set of terrorist attacks in Paris, ISIS has claimed responsibility, and French president Francois Hollande has iterated his statement that ISIS is indeed responsible and has made clear that he wants to lead a swift and “merciless” response.

USA Today reports on President Hollande’s statement:

Speaking after the security meeting, Hollande said Friday’s attacks were “committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State group, a jihadist army, against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: A free country that means something to the whole planet.”

CNN reports on the ISIS statement issued today:

ISIS claimed responsibility for gunfire and blasts that targeted six sites Friday night in Paris, killing 128 people in one of Europe’s deadliest massacres in recent years.

In an online statement distributed by supporters Saturday, the terror group said eight militants wearing explosive belts and armed with machine guns attacked precisely selected areas in the French capital.

In addition to the people killed, 180 others were injured, according to the Paris Police Prefecture. More than half of them are in critical condition.

Among those wounded are an as yet unconfirmed number of Americans.  Also from CNN:

Americans are among the injured in the Paris attacks, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said Saturday.

“The‎ United States Embassy in Paris is working round the clock to assist American citizens affected by this tragedy,” Toner said in a statement. “‎The U.S. government is working closely with French authorities to identify American victims. We are aware there are Americans among the injured, and are offering them the full range of consular assistance.”

An American in Paris was interviewed by Megyn Kelly about his experience during the attacks.  Watch:

According to the Guardian, one of the terrorists was a French Muslim extremist who was known to French police, and the others held Syrian and Egyptian passports.

The French special forces, who are members of France’s anti-terrorism unit, responded quickly upon reports from those inside the building that the terrorists were killing hostages “one by one” and spent two minutes gaining control of the Bataclan music hall (largely because the terrorists blew themselves—and more hostages—up as the unit approached).

USA Today reports:

The siege at Paris’ Bataclan concert hall was ended by an assault by French security forces.. One police official described “carnage” inside the building, saying the attackers tossed explosives at the hostages, then blew themselves up with suicide belts as police closed in, The Associated Press reported.

Also according to the Guardian, the claim of responsibility from ISIS appears to be legimate, but what is not yet known is whether these attacks were directed by ISIS or carried about by those who identify with and support them and acted of their own accord.

The Guardian’s Shiv Malik has had a detailed look at the statement purportedly released by Islamic State:

The logo and design of the statements conform with Isis’s past formal statements from their central media office. The central office tends only to deal with releases about large attacks such as Tunisia early this year and this Shia mosque in May and other important military and administrative information.

Isis has also released an audio recording about the Paris attacks. In terms of substance, the six-minute clip is simply a reading of the written statement. The clip has been produced in the same format as previous recordings – they use the same battle song or nasheed at the start for example. It appears that Isis has even employed the same guy to do the reading as in the past.

Charlie Winter, a security analyst who has looked, listened, and watched thousands of pieces of Islamic State propaganda has little doubt that the statement is genuine.

He says that since late September Isis has migrated from Twitter to the encrypted app Telegram to distribute links to its releases. He saw this statement emanate earlier today from Isis accounts he had previously verified.

He says that the banner – “Islamic State France” – is also not unusual. When they don’t have an official Wilayat or governorate in the area concerned, Winter says the default is just to name the country concerned in the way the have and describe the perpetrators as “soldiers of the caliphate”. It does not mean that this statement is itself issued by a Isis branch in France.

Winter’s question is whether the attacks have been inspired or directed. The statements claiming responsibility in both French and Arabic contain no new information about the attacks and appear to have been “put together hastily,” Winter says, which he adds, is “not unusual either”.

The claims of responsibility over the downing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt a few weeks ago also gave away no new operational details. “The question we have to ask is whether it was directed from higher up in the ranks of [Isis] or whether it was eight supporters/members who were seeking to carry out an attack in its name as an expression of its support,” Winter says.

President Hollande declared the terror attacks an “act of barbarism” and vowed a “merciless” response:

ABC is reporting that ISIS claims it targeted Paris as a “capital of adultery and vice”:

The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks in Paris that killed 127 people and said France would remain at the “top of the list” of its targets.

An online statement said eight militants armed with explosive belts and automatic weapons attacked carefully chosen targets in the “capital of adultery and vice,” including a soccer stadium where France was playing Germany, and the Bataclan concert hall, where an American rock band was playing, and “hundreds of apostates were attending an adulterous party.”

The statement said France and its supporters “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State.”

“The stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders’ campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes that were of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris,” it said.

If the terrorists are hoping to affect change in either morality or French foreign policy by instilling fear in the people that results in a backlash against government policy, it seems that their evil rampage is having the opposite effect:

Sky News’ live feed is here:

Here’s an additional live feed from France 24:

We’ve curated two Twitter livestreams:

UPDATE: An American student is reported as among those killed by the ISIS terrorists in Paris.

NBC reports:

A college student from California is the first American fatality identified in the Paris terror attacks.

Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, a junior design major at California State University-Long Beach spending a semester studying at Strate College of Design, was killed at one of the restaurants struck by terrorists Friday night.

Nohemi Gonzalez via NBC


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