By James Corbett
A series of attacks in and around Paris on Friday night left 129 dead and 352 wounded. The attacks included three explosions at the Stade de France, a siege of the Bataclan theatre, and shootings/bombings at restaurants throughout the city.
French President François Hollande did not waste time in blaming the attacks definitively on the Islamic State. In an address to the nation on Saturday he declared: “It is an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France,” adding, “It is an act of war that was prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside, which the investigation will help establish.” His speech did not indicate how he knows what the investigation would conclude before it was conducted.
Five of the attackers have now been publicly identified, and another, Salah Abdeslam, has reportedly been taken alive in Belgium after a confrontation with police. There are now thought to be as many as 20 accomplices who were involved in the events. At least one of them was reportedly already known to French security before the attack.
The French government has responded with a series of actions, including declaring a state of emergency and locking down the borders, shutting down all public facilities in Paris, conducting over 150 raids across the country and beginning a series of airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria.
Much has been made of a Syrian passport allegedly recovered from the vicinity of the body of one of the gunmen. Greece’s deputy minister in charge of police, Nikos Toskas, issued a statement asserting that “The holder of the passport passed through the island of Leros on Oct. 3, 2015, where he was identified according to EU rules,” but an unidentified “US intelligence official” told CBS News the passport may be fake, citing incorrect numbers and a mismatching picture.
The attacks were preceded Friday afternoon by bomb threats against the Gare de Lyon railway station and the Hotel Molitor where the German national soccer team were staying. Friday also happened to be the day of a “multi-site attack exercise” in Paris that included “police forces, firemen, EMTs, and others,” according to Patrick Pelloux, an emergency physician and former Charlie Hebdo columnist who was also mobilized in response to the Hebdo shootings in January.
Meanwhile SOFREP is reporting that the attacks were known about in advance, as French national police were meeting with “the German BKA federal police and BND federal intelligence service to discuss an imminent pre-planned terrorist attack in Paris” two weeks ago. This information lines up with newly released details of an arrest of a 51 year old Montenegrin that took place on November 5th in Germany. The man was reportedly found to be transporting AK-47s, hand grenades, TNT, and was apparently headed to France.
Iraqi intelligence, meanwhile, warned French authorities of an imminent attack and provided specific details about the operation that the French government has yet to make public. This includes the claim that the attack was planned in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, and included 24 people, including attackers and accomplices.
News about the attacks and international reaction is still coming in. Corbett Report members are asked to supply links to relevant information and contribute to its analysis in the comment section below. This article will be updated as that information is compiled and discussed.
Source: The Corbett Report