PARIS, Nov 14 - At least 128 people were killed in a series of coordinated attacks by suicide bombers and gunmen in Paris at a concert hall, restaurants and the national sports stadium, claimed by Islamic State jihadists today.
French President Francois Hollande also blamed the Islamic extremist group and called the coordinated assault last night at six different sites an �act of war.�
At least eight militants, all wearing suicide vests, brought unprecedented violence to the streets of the French capital in the worst attacks in Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
In the bloodiest part of a night of violence, four men armed with AK-47s and shouting �Allahu Akbar� stormed into a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall in eastern Paris, gunning down at least 82 people and taking dozens hostage.
�They didn�t stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. Everyone was trying to flee,� said Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter who was at the concert by the US rock band, Eagles of Death Metal.
The gunmen were heard raging at Hollande and his decision in September to begin air strikes on Islamic State jihadists in Syria.
�I clearly heard them say �It�s the fault of Hollande, it�s the fault of your President, he should not have intervened in Syria�,� Janaszak added.
French officials have spoken frequently of their fears that hundreds of French citizens, thought to be fighting with the IS in Syria and Iraq, would return to France and launch attacks.
France has taken part in US-led air strikes on IS targets in Iraq for over a year and in September, began bombing the jihadists in Syria, claiming to have hit a training camp and an oil installation.
In a statement issued online this morning, the Islamic State said that �eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles� conducted a �blessed attack on... Crusader France.�
The death toll of 128 does not include the eight attackers, the first suicide bombers to strike in France. The assault also left at least 250 wounded, 100 of them seriously.
Hollande said the multiple attacks across Paris were �an act of war...committed by a terrorist army, Daesh, against France,� using another term for the IS.
No arrests had been made by early this morning and the country was in a state of emergency, decreed by Hollande last night.
As a precaution, sports events were cancelled in Paris, while public schools and many museums were closed.
Hollande himself had to be hastily evacuated from the Stade de France stadium when suicide bombers struck outside during a friendly football international between France and Germany.
US President Barack Obama led a chorus of global condemnation, saying it was �an attack on all of humanity,� and New York lit the new World Trade Centre in the red, white and blue of the French flag in sympathy.
Obama is one of dozens of world leaders expected to attend key UN climate talks just outside the French capital from November 30. Authorities had already tightened security at France�s borders yesterday, hours ahead of the carnage in Paris.
The worst of the killing occurred at the Bataclan music venue in the trendy 11th arrondissement where more than 1,000 rock fans were at the sellout show.
As screams rang out and survivors ran over the injured or dead to make their ways to the exits or places to hide, the militants took hostages and began executing them.
Three of the militants blew up their explosive belts as heavily armed anti-terror police raided the venues around 12.30 am (0500 IST), while a fourth was shot dead.
Another attacker blew himself up in nearby Boulevard Voltaire, as the streets were filled with the sound of police sirens and convoys of ambulances shipping hundreds of injured to hospital.
Several restaurants near the concert hall were also targeted, including a popular Cambodian eatery in the trendy Canal St Martin area, where bars and restaurants were thronged with young revellers.
An extra 1,500 soldiers were mobilised to reinforce police in Paris, Hollande�s office said. French media reacted with horror.
�War in central Paris,� splashed centre-right daily Le Figaro, with Le Parisien saying: �This time it�s war.� � AFP