On a cold November night in 2015, the peaceful atmosphere of Paris was shattered by ruthless terror attacks that resulted in the death of 130 people and left 494 others critically wounded. The malevolent assailants, heavily armed with assault rifles and explosives, tactically targeted six locations within the city. Following the incident, the infamous extremist group ISIS hastily assumed responsibility for the heart-wrenching carnage.
During the evening of November 13-14, a series of explosive and shooting events unfolded across the city. Around 9:20 p.m. at the Stade de France, a sports stadium situated at the suburban neighborhood Saint-Denis, north of Paris, the first explosion occurred. Watching a soccer match inside the stadium was none other than French President Francois Hollande, who was quickly and safely evacuated. As the events continued to unfold over the next few hours, President Hollande declared a state of emergency, sealing the nation's borders.
Later on, during two encounters respectively at 9:30 p.m. and 9:53 p.m., additional blasts occurred outside the stadium and nearby on Rue de la Cokerie. These events collectively claimed the lives of four individuals - three suicide bombers and an unintended pedestrian.
Violent shootings caused further harm at locations such as Petit Cambodge and Le Carillon, Café Bonne Biere, and La Belle Equipe, taking several innocent lives. A suicide bomber also detonated himself in a restaurant, Comptoir Voltaire, critically injuring one person and mildly harming others. The Bataclan concert hall was also a scene of terror, where around 90 people lost their lives when assailants opened fire during a concert by the American band Eagles of Death Metal.
After the fateful attacks, ISIS claimed responsibility online on November 14, 2015. France later responded with force, bombing a series of ISIS sites in Raqqa, Syria. Shortly after, during a joint parliamentary session, President Hollande asked lawmakers to approve an extension of the country's state of emergency.
On November 18, 2015, French authorities carried out a raid on an apartment building in Saint-Denis, believed to be the hideout of the suspected mastermind of the attacks. The raid ended dramatically with a suicide device being detonated, a bullet-ridden exchange, and a collapsed floor, leaving three people dead. The body of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged ringleader of the Paris attacks, was later found in the rubble. By November 20, the death toll had increase to 130.
Trials for those involved in the heinous act began on September 8, 2021 and verdicts were handed out by June 29, 2022. Salah Abdeslam, accused of physically orchestrating the attacks, along with nineteen other suspects, were found guilty on all charges and given life sentences.
This saga offers a chilling reminder of an era marked by global terrorism that continues to loom over us. To date, the survivors and families of the victims are etching towards closure as the main support organization for them, "Life for Paris", plans to conclude operations on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on November 13, 2025.