Paris: at least 129 reportedly killed, ISIS claims responsibility; St. John’s Paris campus community accounted for

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Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Talia Tirella, Co-Editor-in-Chief

At least 129 people have reportedly been killed after what appears to have been a series of coordinated attacks across Paris Friday night. One American is among those reported dead.

The first of the attackers has been identified as of Sunday morning in Paris.

The University published a statement on Monday and said that all students and faculty from the Paris campus were safe. They said they are continuing to monitor the situation closely, but that classes are back in session on the Paris campus.

Discover the World (DTW) students on the St. John’s Paris campus have all been accounted for, according to DTW students Desiree Avila and Angela Vollmer.

Vollmer said the staff on campus is working to confirm that a group of semester students are safe as well. The semester students have been in Paris for the entire semester, whereas DTW students just arrived in Paris yesterday for their third rotation.

Avila is studying abroad and arrived on the Paris campus Thursday night.

“A group of us were on our way to the Eiffel Tower when the front desk and RA stopped us from going out after the first attack,” Avila said. “A group was walking in from the Eiffel Tower.”

Avila said the campus is currently on lockdown and confirmed that all DTW students are accounted for, and that students haven’t specifically been told anything besides to stay on campus.

“There is a group of semester students that were traveling outside of Paris for the weekend and the staff has been making every effort to contact them and ensure their safety as well,” Vollmer said.

Update, 9:28 p.m. ET, Tuesday Nov. 17: CNN reported that officials made arrests over the weekend in Belgium in connection with the attacks.

France conducted airstrikes over the weekend, hitting several major ISIS targets. Russia conducted air strikes on Tuesday, hitting Raqqa, the Syrian headquarters of ISIS, according to CNN.

On Tuesday, the Russian Federal Security Service said   that the Oct. 31 bomb that brought down a Russian passenger plane could have been struck by terrorists. They are offering a reward for anyone with information about who bombed the plane

Update, 9:44 p.m. ET, Nov. 14: CNN reports that one of the attackers has been identified. Ismael Omar Mostefai lived in Chartes until at least 2012, Parliament member and Chartes Mayor Jean-Pierre Gorges told CNN.

Update, 8:04 p.m. ET: The names of known victims have been released.

CNN reports that authorities have taken people into custody in relation to Friday night’s attacks. Several raids took place in Brussels, Belgium, after authorities found a rental car from Belgium parked near the Bataclan concert hall.

A Western intelligence source told CNN that at least one of the raids was in connection with the attacks. A CNN affiliate reported that the father and brother of one of the attackers had been arrested.

Update, 2:29 p.m. ET: CNN reports that at least one American is among the 129 people killed in the attacks. 20-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez of El Monte, California, was a junior studying design in Paris for a semester while enrolled at California State University, Long Beach, the school told CNN.

The New York Times reports that the attacks were carried out by three teams of coordinated attackers, according to authorities. One traveled to Europe on a Syrian passport along with the flow of migrants, according to the Times.

Update, 2:01 p.m. ET: The New York Times reports that several arrests have been made in Belgium in connection with the attacks in Paris. Koen Geens, the Belgian justice minister, announced on Twitter that arrests had been made.

Geens also told media that a rental car with Belgian plates was found near the Bataclan concert hall, prompting the raids in Brussels, according to the Times.

Update, 1:57 p.m. ET: CNN reports that two Americans are among the injured, one man and one woman. The man has sustained a leg injury that is not considered to be life-threatening. The extent of the woman’s injuries is currently unknown, and it is not clear if she is the same American woman who has reportedly died in the attacks, according to CNN.

A source close to CNN said that officials found passports, one Syrian and one Egyptian, on two of the eight attackers. The source told CNN “there is a strong assumption that these passports are fake.

Update, 1:14 p.m. ET: CNN reports that the total number of dead stands at 129, with a total of 352 others injured. Paris prosecutor Francois Mollins said Saturday that 99 were seriously injured.

Update, 12:37 p.m. ET: CNN reports that a number of arrests have been made in Belgium in connection with the attacks in Paris, according to a Belgian justice ministry spokeswoman.

Update, 12:10 p.m. ET: CNN reports that at least one raid is being conducted in Belgium, but officials will not confirm that the raid is in connection with the attacks in Paris.

At least two Americans are among those injured, according to U.S. officials that spoke with CNN.

Update, 11:57 a.m. ET: The Guardian reports that three of the eight attackers are believed to have come from a Brussels neighborhood that was raided earlier. The Guardian reports the total number of dead as 127.

Update, 10:22 a.m. ET, Nov. 14: CNN reports that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. The total number of dead is 128, but CNN said that number is expected to fluctuate as details become clearer. The deadliest attack at the Bataclan concert hall left 80 dead.

The State Department announced that Americans are among those who were injured in the attacks, according to CNN.

ISIS posted an online statement that has been shared by their followers saying that eight militants armed with machine guns and wearing explosive belts “precisely” selected areas of the French capital for the attacks, according to CNN.

French President Francois Hollande blamed the attacks on ISIS, calling the events last night an “act of war” by the militant group. According to CNN, he said the attacks were planned from the outside, with “inside complicity.”

“When the terrorists are capable of doing such acts, they must know that they will face a France very determined,” he said.

Eight terrorists are dead according to the French prosecutor’s spokeswoman Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre. Of the eight, seven died in suicide bombings, according to CNN.

Update, 11:00 p.m. ET, Nov. 13: CNN reports that a total of six locations were attacked. Five suspected attackers have been “neutralized,” according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins. CNN said it is unclear whether or not that means the terrorists are dead.

Update, 9:07 p.m. ET: CNN reports that gunmen are still at large, according to French officials.

Update, 8:38 p.m. ET: CNN reports that at least 153 people were killed in the Paris and Saint-Denis bombings and shootings. 112 were killed at the Bataclan concert hall.

Update, 7:49 p.m. ET: CNN reports that Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman said the death toll had risen to at least 118 people. Two attackers have been killed.

Update, 7:28 p.m. ET: CNN received reports that more than 100 people were killed in the attack on the Bataclan concert hall.

Update, 7:18 p.m. ET: CNN reports that French SWAT units have stormed the Bataclan and the siege is over. Deputy Mayor of Paris Patrick Klugman told CNN the assault is over. Klugman said the death toll is expected to rise significantly. “We are facing an unknown and historic situation in Paris,” he told CNN.

Update, 6:53 p.m. ET: CNN reports that several groups of police have burst into the Bataclan concert hall and a series of detonations have been heard from outside, along with gunfire. Police have brought out around 100 hostages, according to CNN.

At least six shootings took place along with three explosions, CNN reported. Two or three gunmen entered the Bataclan, and it is believed that six to eight hostage takers were present, according to CNN’s report.

The main shooting broke out at the Bataclan during a performance by American band Eagles of Death Metal, according to the New York Times. French news services told the Times that as many as 100 hostages had been taken there.

According to the Times, one of the explosions happened near France’s main stadium in Saint-Denis, where a soccer game between Germany and France was taking place.

French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency Friday evening and ordered that the nation’s borders be closed, according to CNN.

Hollande said during a televised address that the government had “mobilized all the forces we can muster to neutralize the threats and secure all of the areas,” according to the Times.

Hollande said the events were “unprecedented terrorist attacks” and added, “This is a horror,” according to CNN. On Twitter, Hollande said, “Faced with terror, this is a nation that knows how to defend itself, how to mobilize its forces and once again, knows how to overcome the terrorists.”

Residents are being urged to stay inside by Hollande, according to CNN.

President Barack Obama spoke Friday evening from the White House and said, “This is an attack not just on Paris, not just on the people on France, but an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share.”

Obama called the attacks an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”

Additional reporting by Amanda Umpierrez.