Paris On Lock Down After Series Of Attacks Kill At Least 100

Nov 13, 2015
Originally published on November 13, 2015 9:26 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We want to turn now to our reporter in Paris, Eleanor Beardsley. And Eleanor, we heard a little bit from the France 24 reporter about the scene outside of that hall, but as we mentioned earlier, Paris is essentially on lockdown. Can you give us the latest?

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Yeah, Audie. I've been just home watching television. I tried to go out at one point, but it's so fast-breaking. They've shut down portions of the metro in the city, and the police are telling everyone to stay home. And I have a friend who lives near that nightclub, and she says several people are staying the night at her place. She said one woman who only lives a couple of blocks away is really fearful to even walk down the street. So there's huge fear in Paris tonight after these killings. Nobody knows how many are dead and they are talking about seven places around Paris where gunmen opened fire and the stadium where two suicide bombers set themselves off.

CORNISH: Can you elaborate on that? As you said, earlier in the night, we talked about three places. You mentioned that stadium where explosions were outside of that stadium - but seven places. Any sense about those other spots?

BEARDSLEY: Yeah, I mean, they're all sort of in central Paris, very popular places where people would go out on a warm night. And they're showing them on the French news tonight. And they have witnesses who have witnessed gunfire in all of these places. So nothing is clear now. All the media is saying is, we don't want to speculate. We don't know how many dead. But they are all showing these places on the map, which are all downtown Paris.

And I can just tell you, there's a feeling here, you know, the Charlie Hebdo murders in January - yes, those were horrible, but those people, they worked for a magazine that was known to sort of antagonize to draw the Prophet Mohammad. And so, you know, Muslims didn't like it. Tonight - I'm not saying this has anything to do with Muslims, but there was a witness outside of this nightclub was said one of the gunmen - it was on one channel - he said he heard him say, Allahu akbar, God is great, before he fired into the crowd, into this concert hall. So there's a feeling tonight that it's - as a friend of mine told me who lives near the neighborhood - it's 10,000 times worse than Charlie Hebdo. Everyone is under attack, and people are actually staying inside. Everyone is really scared.

CORNISH: What are the police or officials saying about whether this is over, whether there are gunmen still at large?

BEARDSLEY: Two gunmen were killed in this nightclub, they're saying. And aside from that, no one has been - and two suicide bombers were killed - blew themselves up. But aside from that, no one has been apprehended so far. So they're still telling people to stay inside.

CORNISH: You've lived and reported from Paris for many years, and you mentioned the Hebdo attacks in January. But, you know, before I let you go, how do you think that this is going to change the city, the mood there? We talked to a witness earlier who was just absolutely stunned.

BEARDSLEY: Yeah, Audie, I can tell you for Charlie Hebdo, people would say to me, are you OK? Are you fine? I was like, I'm OK. Really, I'm fine. I mean, I'm not working in that magazine - whatever. But now this is something completely different. This - I don't even - I can't even - because the city had - and the whole country had soldiers on the streets everywhere after Charlie Hebdo. It was under top alert. Everyone was out, and still they couldn't stop this. So there's a feeling of absolute - you just cannot - you cannot prevent it. And people are speechless tonight. It's just so bad.

CORNISH: That NPR's Eleanor Beardsley speaking to us from Paris. Eleanor, thanks so much.

BEARDSLEY: Good to be with you, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.