Early Saturday morning, ISIS claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks Friday that killed more than 100 people and wounded hundreds more. The extremist group, borne out of a violent faction of Al Qaeda and responsible for countless bombings and atrocities across Syria and Iraq, released a statement Saturday, calling the horrific murders “blessed.”
Calling the attack “blessed,” an audio statement released online in Arabic and French said that ISIS “soldiers” targeted the “capital of prostitution and obscenity, the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe.”
The statement said eight attackers were involved and claimed the attack was the “first of the storm and a warning to those who wish to learn.”
The New York Times puts the latest confirmed death toll at 127, with CNN reporting the numbers to be more around 150. The number was expected to rise dramatically, with 200 wounded, many of them critically. All events were canceled Saturday and President Francois Hollande declared the next 3 days official mourning days.
“France, because it was foully, disgracefully and violently attacked, will be unforgiving with the barbarians from Daesh,” Mr. Hollande said on Saturday, adding that France would act within the law but with “all the necessary means, and on all terrains, inside and outside, in coordination with our allies, who are, themselves, targeted by this terrorist threat.”
The attacks occurred throughout the city, with the first shooting beginning around 9:30 p.m., turning a peaceful night into the most horrific in France’s recent history. Gunmen armed with AK-47s took to the streets, shooting popular restaurants, bars and taking the Bataclan concert hall by siege. Dozens were killed in the Bataclan alone before police stormed the building and killed the attackers.
ISIS also claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in Beirut, which killed more than 40 people and wounded 200 others. A father in Beirut saved dozens with his heroism when he used his body as a shield over a suicide bomber. ISIS was also suspected of being responsible for an attack in Baghdad Friday, which killed at least 19 attending a funeral and wounded more than 30.
Celebrities, activists, politicians and horrified civilians took to social media to express their grief:
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"Once again, we've seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians," Obama said. "This is an attack not just on Paris, it's attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share." 💔 #PrayForParis
We’ll keep you updated with details as we get them. For now, stay safe Beauties and take care of yourselves. We continue to pray for Paris and our world.