French police are hunting possible accomplices of eight assailants who terrorized Paris concert-goers, cafe diners and soccer fans in this country’s deadliest peacetime attacks, a succession of explosions and shootings that cast a dark shadow over this luminous tourist destination.
Parisians who went to sleep in horror at initial news of the attacks woke on Saturday to learn that at least 120 people were killed and scores wounded. World leaders joined together in sympathy and indignation, New York police increased security measures, and people around the world reached out to friends and loved ones in France.
The perpetrators remained a mystery — their nationalities, their motives, even their exact number. Suspicion turned to Islamic extremists, who are angry at France’s military operations against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida affiliates, and who targeted satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo this year and have hit Jewish and other sites in France in the past.
French President Francois Hollande convened a special security meeting Saturday morning. He vowed to be “merciless” with the nation’s foes following what he called unprecedented terrorist attacks.
In a new development for France, seven attackers died in suicide bombings, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Another was killed by police, and prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said authorities can’t rule out that other attackers are at large. Investigators are also looking for possible accomplices.
The attacks, on at least six sites, were near-simultaneous.
Three suicide bombs targeted spots around the national stadium Stade de France, north of the capital, where the French president was watching an exhibition soccer match between the French and German national teams.