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Friday, November 13

Assault on Paris: the 2008 Mumbai swarm attack model UPDATES (Eastern Time): 10:25 PM, 10:50 PM, 1:50 AM Nov 14, 2:05 AM, 2:25 AM, 8:25 AM

8:25 AM EST, Sat. Nov 14
NOV 14 2015, 8:09 AM EST
Paris Attacks: ISIS Claims Responsibility, France Vows 'Merciless' Responseby CASSANDRA VINOGRAD, NANCY ING and JASON CUMMINGS

PARIS — French President Francois Hollande vowed a "merciless" response to the deadliest attacks on the country's soil since World War II as ISISclaimed responsibility Saturday for a coordinated assault on Paris.

A state of emergency was declared and France deployed 1,500 troops after a near-simultaneous series of explosions and shootings brought the city to a horrified standstill overnight. The death toll rose to 127 and 200 other people were wounded, officials said.

French police were hunting possible accomplices of eight assailants, who attacked concert-goers, cafe diners and soccer fans in at least six locations in the French capital. Authorities said that seven attackers blew themselves up, while the eighth was killed by police.

Speaking early Saturday, Hollande pointed the finger at ISIS for orchestrating the "cowardly" attacks which he described as an "act of war committed by a terrorist army" and organized from abroad. He said France remained "unbreakable," calling for "unity and courage."

Hollande added: "We will work alongside our allies to fight this terrorist menace ... France is strong and even if she is wounded she will get up always and nothing will hold her down, even if we are feeling the grief now ... We will defend ourselves."

Earlier, Hollande vowed to be "merciless" with the nation's foes.

A statement issued by ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attacks. ISIS has previously threatened France due to its military operations against the group in Syria and Iraq.

The violence came less than a year after deadly attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket drove home the threat of Islamist terrorism here.

"This time it's war," pronounced Saturday's front page of Le Parisien newspaper. "War in the middle of Paris" echoed Le Figaro.

All museums, schools and libraries in Paris were ordered closed Saturday as investigators searched for clues following the bloodshed. The Disneyland theme park near the city was also shut.

The Bataclan concert hall in the lively 11th arrondissement was the scene of the night's worst carnage. At least 100 died there, according to the AP, when gunmen opened fire during a sell-out concert by American band Eagles of Death Metal.


Lot's more information in the report.

2:25 AM EST, Sat. Nov 14
This AP report counts six sites of attack, Bloomberg (see below) counts seven. 
Hollande was in the stadium when it came under attack -- he was evacuated safely. My understanding is that he won't be attending the G-20 Summit this weekend in Turkey.  

120 dead in Paris attacks, worst since WWII
PARIS — Nov 14, 2015, 1:22 AM ET
PARIS (AP) -- A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed at least 120 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II. President Francois Hollande condemned it as terrorism and pledged that France would stand firm against its foes.

The worst carnage was at a concert hall hosting an American rock band, where scores of people were held hostage and attackers ended the standoff by detonating explosive belts. Police who stormed the building encountered a bloody scene of horror inside.

When the attacks were over, eight attackers were dead - seven of them in suicide explosions, one killed by security forces in the music venue, Paris prosecutor's spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre told The Associated Press.


Lots more information in the report

2:00 AM EST, Sat. Nov 14
Here is the podcast to John Batchelor's discussion last night with Seb Gorka, Bill Roggio, and Tom Joscelyn about the swarm attack in Paris. As I noted in the first post on the attack (see earliest entry below) these experts on terrorism/ counterterrorism were aware they were working with data from a fast-changing story. But their observations are still valuable.


1:50 AM EST, Saturday, Nov 14
Seven sites were struck simultaneously.  Here, from a Bloomberg report filed at 12:58 AM EST, November 14, by Mark Deen and Edward Johnson (report below), is a map of the sites, which of course supersedes the one VOX supplied yesterday evening:

Complexity of Paris Attacks Carries Hallmarks of Trained Fighters

The coordinated attacks that killed at least 120 people in Paris on Friday carry the hallmarks of trained fighters -- and a guiding hand.

The strikes occurred almost simultaneously in seven separate venues across the French capital and were designed to maximize casualties and signal combat experience. Even if the perpetrators weren’t practiced combatants, they were likely organized by people who are, analysts said.

"For terrorists to inflict such a large amount of damage they must have been trained very well,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of Cornerstone Global Associates, which advises clients on risk in the Middle East.

The equipment, the timing and coordination show that “it’s not a layman and it’s not a lone attacker,” Nuseibeh said by phone from Dubai.

No group has made credible claims of responsibility and the French government has yet to say whether it has identified the perpetrators.

French planes are bombing militants in Syria as part of a U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State and French President Francois Hollande announced on Nov. 5 that he ordered the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to deploy to support the strikes. The group will be among those initially focused on by investigators, analysts said.

“The degree of complexity and the timing all point to the Islamic State,” said Rodger Shanahan, a Middle East security specialist at the Australian National University’s National Security College. The attacks “took a fair degree of planning and central direction.”


10:50 PM ET
From RT's live-blogging on the incident, there must have been more than 5 attackers if eyewitnesses quoted are correct:

People who managed to flee the theater reported seeing between six and eight shooters inside were killing those who remained in the concert hall “one by one”.

Once the Paris police decided to storm the Bataclan theater, where four terrorists were holding dozens of people hostage, the assailants decided to detonate the suicide belts they were wearing, according to local media reports, who added that over 110 people died as a result of the siege.


Three of the attackers were killed after letting off their explosive devices, while the fourth died after being shot by police. The exact number of hostages killed is still unknown. The Le Parisien newspaper claims over 100 people died, with at least a dozen suffering injuries.

The exact number of those held hostage is also unknown. Dozens of people who were evacuated from the theater have been rushed to hospitals. Both witnesses and police sources described the scene as “real carnage,” with dead bodies all over place.

One of the gunmen at Bataclan reportedly shouted: "It's for Syria" and "Allahu Akbar!" meaning,“God is [the] greatest” in Arabic.

It still remains unclear how the situation developed inside the concert hall. According to witnesses, the attackers stormed the venue as a California rock group ‘Eagles of Death Metal’ was performing on the stage.

A Europe 1 journalist, who was inside the Bataclan, said the men were unmasked and carried what he recognized as Kalashnikov-type guns.

“The assailants had time to reload at least three times. They were not masked, masters of themselves. They were very young," the reporter Julian Pearce said, according to the Liberation newspaper.


At 6:45 PM ET VOX published a map of sites where confirmed reports of bombings and shootings took place in Paris.

10:25 PM ET
The Guardian is one of the news sites live-blogging the aftermath of the assault. Here's their latest headline:  All attackers dead, police say, after shootings and explosions kill at least 150 in Paris – live updates. From the report it seems there were five attackers but police are looking for possible accomplices.  


As of now, U.S. authorities don't know who is responsible, but it was only a matter of time before the very sophisticated Mumbai model was successfully used in another major city. Will this end the era of tolerance in the EU?  Thomas Joscelyn at Long War Journal in his first report on the assault on Paris also mentioned that it was similar to the Mumbai attack.  

And Tom, along with Bill Roggio and Sebastian Gorka made astute observations about the Paris assault during the first segment of John Batchelor's Show tonight.  The podcast isn't posted up yet but will add it to this post when it is. They see the attack as a massive intelligence failure, given what seems to have been a pretty large number of people who carried out the attack. 

John warned, as he always does, that in war the first three reports are wrong. From the report below, five of the attackers are dead as of the time it was filed. 

But I can tell you one thing with certainty at this early stage: the swarm model of attack is a very powerful and sophisticated force multipler. I will be putting up a post on the swarm model shortly.          

"Les terroristes capables de telles atrocités doivent savoir qu'il auront face à eux une France déterminée et unie" -- Élysée Palace

Paris Attacks: At Least 120 Dead After 'Terrorists' Stage Multiple Attacks and Take Hostages
Nov 13, 2015 - 8:40 PM ET
ABC News 

At least 120 are dead in a series of six attacks in Paris -- including shootings, explosions and a hostage situation at a concert hall -- in a night of carnage France said was carried out by "terrorists."
Five attackers are dead, according to a Paris prosecutor, and the hostage situation at the theater, Bataclan concert hall, was over.
In the wake of the attacks, French President Francois Hollande said he was locking down the borders of the country and declaring a state of emergency. Hollande called the attacks "unprecedented" and President Obama called them an attack "on all of humanity."
Hollande said, according to ITELE, "When terrorists are capable of doing such horrible things, there will be a France determined, a united France and a France who will not allow itself to cave even if today it expresses a deep sorrow in the face of this tragedy which is an abomination because these are barbaric acts."
In a tweet, the Elysee Palace said: "terrorists capable of such atrocities should know that they will face a determined and united France."
The attacks took place at the theater, the Stade de France soccer stadium, a restaurant in the 10th District and another location in the 11th District.
Police in Paris were recommending that residents avoid going out unless absolutely necessary and the subway system was shut down. Primary schools, high schools and all educational buildings will be closed Saturday around Paris, French authorities said.
The Department of Homeland Security said it is closely monitoring the events in Paris said there was no specific or credible threat to the United States. DHS said it's in contact with its counterparts in the area and "will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people."
Eagles of Death Metal, an American rock band that was performing at Bataclan tonight, said in a statement, "We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew. Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation."
The explosions took place near the Stade de France stadium, one of the sources said, where Germany was playing France in soccer. Hollande was at the game at the time and was evacuated.
One witness, Margot Schmorak, told ABC News via Skype that one of the attacks "was around the corner from us, about a half a block down."
Schmorak and three colleagues "were sitting outside on sidewalk ... we heard a bunch of gun shots. Maybe 8 to 10, and then there was kind of a pause, and there was a few more."
"We actually said to each other, 'Is that gunshots or is it firecrackers or something else?' And then one of my friends actually said, 'I think it's gunshots.' And we saw people running from around the corner," she said.
Another witness, Emilioi Macchio, was at a bar when he heard gunshots, according to the Associated Press.
"It sounded like fireworks," Macchio said, the AP reported.
Secretary of State John Kerry called the attacks "heinous, evil, vile acts."
"Those of us who can must do everything in our power to fight back against what can only be considered an assault on our common humanity," said Kerry.
"Our embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of American citizens in the city, and in the days ahead we stand ready to provide whatever support the French government may require. France is our oldest ally, a friend and a vital partner," Kerry's statement said. "We stand with the French people tonight, as our peoples have always stood together in our darkest hours.  These terrorist attacks will only deepen our shared resolve."
Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the U.S., said he was devastated by the carnage.
President Obama said from the White House today that, while the details of the attacks in France are unknown, the U.S. stands together with France "in the fight against terrorism and extremism."
Obama called France an "extraordinary counter-terrorism partner."
"Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress," Obama said, adding that the "American people draw strength from the French people's commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
A federal law enforcement source said the FBI set up a “command post” to help monitor and respond to the attacks. The FBI is actively trying to help French authorities, but as of now, U.S. authorities do not know who is responsible.
The Associated Press contributed to this report

I thought France was already on "high alert" since charlie hebdo? Mr. Hollande will be merciless in going after terrorists? Please! Attacks all over Paris and not one clue from the intelligence services? Don't believe a word coming out of France. Alex
Darn tootin' I don't believe a word coming out of France. Englannd's Daily Mail is having a field day pointing out that some of the attackers were well-known to French authorities -- same as with the Charlie Hebdo attackers. Over at Land Destroyer, Tony Cartaucci is ripping the French surveillance state to shreds. Short version of his rant: What use is to have a surveillance state if it can't surveil its way out of a paper bag?

As to Hollande going to war -- right, go back to Syria and bomb more oil facilities, making it even harder for the Syrians to get back on their feet. That'll teach Islamic State and Qaeda a lesson.

But now Hollande is in a pickle. He was one of the people who had to be evacuated from the stadium last night, and everyone in France knows this.

So we'll see what the next move is.
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