A wave of terror attacks has rocked Paris tonight with a restaurant, a stadium and a concert hall amongst the targets. Gunmen fired into Bataclan concert hall shouting “Allahu akbar," according to France24, and then proceeded to hold hostages; French police then went in hard and some reports have suggested that up to 100 may have been killed during the operation with 40 others killed across the city. Two suicide attacks have also been reported outside the Stade de France stadium, and explosions were heard while the France vs Germany football match was underway:-
The explosion can he heard during the soccer match: https://t.co/hPhiii6xwB
— Andrew Desiderio (@desiderioDC) November 13, 2015
A state of emergency has just been declared in France, the first since the 2005 Paris riots; curfew has been declared for the first time since 1944. Some 1,500 soldiers have been sent on to the streets of Paris: there whereabouts of the gunmen who attacked Le Carillon café is unknown.
One of those at the Bataclan concert hall said that two or three men armed with automatic weapons started “shooting blindly into the crowd”.
“It lasted about ten, fifteen minutes. It was extremely violent and there has been a wave of panic, everyone ran. There was trampling. The attackers had time to recharge at least three times. They were very young.”
There were reports that the attackers yelled: “This is for Syria.” But even if such reports are wrong, there is little doubt about the culprits.
Even before today Isis have been suffering some serious setbacks in Syria and Iraq. Trying to break out from this by staging a terrorist spectacular in Paris might be regarded as a predictable tactic to divert attention from this fact. It is an attempt to demonstrate strength from a group beginning to feel weakness.
But the real problem this should remind us of is the central problem for modern Europe - a problem which is only growing. We don't know who is here in our continent, and among those who are here there are too many who are active enemies of our societies and our way of life. They hate us when we are involved in the Middle East and they hate us when we are not. They hate us when we stay in our countries and when we leave them. They attack us when we are in Paris and when we are on holiday in North Africa. We need to wake up to the fact that the problem is not us - it is them.
There will be a lot of analysis in the coming hours and days, but governments must formulate a response. The only proper response is to have the same response at home as we do abroad. Our societies face serious and determined enemies. So far we have pretended we can tackle these people only by engaging them on foreign battlefields. And by having a half-hearted talk about 'radicalisation' here at home. That is quite wrong. There are barbarians are inside the gates. To defeat them we need to confront them over here, not just over there.
This article was updated to reflect unfolding events