aNewDomain — Judging by the high early death toll, it’s likely today’s Paris shootings will go down as one of the biggest Western attacks ever, second only to the attacks on New York City and Washington DC on Sept. 11, 2001, representatives for an anti terrorism group said Tuesday evening.
Earlier today masked gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles splayed cafes, then entered a Parisian concert hall. There they shot concertgoers as they lie on the floor hoping to escape their bullets, a witness told CNN early on. The gunmen shot and killed dozens in this manner, reports say.
At this writing, more than 120 are believed dead.
French police now say all four gunmen who shot the concertgoers are believed dead, too. Three blew up their explosive lined belts when police closed in, French police prefect, Michel Cadot, told reporters an hour ago. Another group of four suspected gunmen, which had been lurking outside the city, are also dead.
Now comes the grisly job of identifying the dead and identifying those responsible.
Did ISIS do it?
It’s too early to say, but an early look around the Internet and the social web suggests that, if it isn’t behind it, at the very least it’s cheering on whoever is responsible.
Google ISIS and “Paris shootings” and one of the first stories that comes up is a UK newspaper report from July 2015, which covers a brutal ISIS video of an execution-style murder of a Syrian soldier by a self-described “French Jihadi.” In it, the masked executioner raves in perfect French, urging his Western brethren to take it all out on Paris and leave “bodies piled in the streets” of Paris.
Alone, that’s not damning. But, taken together with a stream of ISIS sympathizer tweets celebrating the shootings with an Arabic hashtag that translates as #ParisInFlames, it gives pause. That’s the same hashtag ISIS reportedly used after January’s Charlie Hebdo killings.
Many of the tweets carried a further threat, too. Reporter Tim Ramadan translated this one, an ominous missive that promised Rome, London and Washington would be next.
After the attacks, French President Francois Hollande announced a state of emergency and a return to border checks. He said that anyone “deemed dangerous” could be subject to house arrest. The attacks are “unprecedented,” Hollande said. US President Barack Obama called them an attack “on all of humanity.”
The Elysee Palace tweeted the below, which translates, roughly, as “the terrorists who are capable of such atrocities ought to know that they will face a determined and united France.”
If you are looking for an American friend or relative in Paris right now, call 1-888-407-4747 in the US and Canada — and 001-202-501-4444 from Paris and elsewhere.
For aNewDomain, I’m Gina Smith.
Cover image of a dark Eifel tower: Twitter, All Rights Reserved.