At least 128 people have been killed in multiple attacks in Paris on Friday, including one near the Stade de France sports stadium and another at a concert venue, police said.
Fifteen of the victims were killed at the Bataclan concert hall in eastern Paris, police said, adding that a hostage crisis was ongoing at the venue. The three others were killed in explosions near the stadium just north of Paris, where a France-Germany football match was taking place.
Police said a hostage scenario was ongoing at the concert hall, which is in an area known for its busy nightlife.
Spectators flooded the pitch as news of the attacks spread. Organisers started evacuating the stadium by three doors.
Another attack was reported at the Petit Cambodge restaurant, not far from the Bataclan venue.
An AFP reporter outside the Bataclan said there were armed police and some 20 police wagons with their lights flashing around the scene.
Julian Peace, a Europe1 journalist, who was inside Bataclan when the attack took place said that two to three people, not wearing face masks, opened fire on the crowd with kalashnikovs. He says it lasted 10 to 15 minutes - enough time for the attackers to reload their weapons two or three times. The journalist was wounded.
Stunned onlookers had begun to emerge from nearby bars, while many others continued to eat their meals in restaurants, apparently unaware of the carnage that had taken place only a few metres away.
President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that a crisis cell had been set up.
"The president of the Republic, the prime minister, the interior minister are in a inter-ministerial crisis cell," the government said in a statement.
State of Emergency
Fearing a terrorist attack, President Francois Hollande has declared France in a state of emergency and has said that he will close borders following what he called "unprecedented terrorrist attacks underway in Paris". Public transport has also been closed down.
President Obama reacts
President Barack Obama said Friday evening that ongoing attacks in France are an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians”
“This is an attack not just on Paris. It’s an attack not just on the people of France. But this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share,” Obama said, offering “whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond”.
“We stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” he said at the White House. “Those that think they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. The American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”