Taken together, the assaults represented the deadliest day of attacks in France since World War II and one of the worst terrorist strikes on Western soil since Sept. 11, 2001
France declared a state of emergency and secured its borders Friday night after attackers unleashed a coordinated wave of explosions, gunfire and hostage-taking in Paris that left more than 120 people dead and generated scenes of horror and carnage.
Taken together, the assaults represented the deadliest day of attacks in France since World War II and one of the worst terrorist strikes on Western soil since Sept. 11, 2001. At half a dozen sites across Paris — a soccer stadium, restaurants, a concert hall — the attackers carried out suicide bombings, hurled grenades and shot hostages dead in a frenzy of violence that paralyzed the city. Late into the night and early Saturday morning, heavily armed security forces flooded the streets while panicked residents and tourists sought safety indoors.
Friday was the second time this year that the City of Light has been a scene of mass murder; in January, Islamist gunmen attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, leaving a total of 17 dead.
The latest violence will only heighten the tension on a continent that is already on edge from the accumulated strain of a historic migration crisis, growing Islamist extremism and increasingly polarized politics.