We join everybody in condemning the attacks in Paris and nearby places that killed more than 120 people and injured about 200 Friday night.
There’s no justification for violence perpetrated on innocent people.
The group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), a fanatical group that aims to transform the entire earth as an Islamic State and promotes religious violence to achieve its goals, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The night before, in a less publicized incident, ISIS also sowed terror in Beirut in two suicide bombings that left 239 people injured or in a critical condition, according to news.co.au.
The Australian online report said it “was the deadliest in the capital since the end of Lebanon’s civil war in 1990.” The twin bombings happened in an area known as a stronghold of Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah, which is fighting ISIS in Syria.
Actress Angelina Jolie, who is active in the United Nations efforts to help refugees, posted a message in Facebook not to forget Beirut as we mourn for the victims of the Paris attacks: “Whilst everyone talks about #Paris no one mentions the #ISIS attack in #Lebanon yesterday. I pray for both countries.”
French President Francois Hollande vowed his government will be “ruthless" to the perpetrators of the horrifying attacks.
The whole world stood with him as he declared that "France will not let itself be overwhelmed or frightened even if today we are overcome with sadness and emotion."
How the French responded to the crisis is impressive, especially from where we are coming from.
The first explosion, according to reports, was at 9:20 p.m. Friday at Stade de France, where President Hollande together with the foreign minister of Germany was watching a France-Germany friendly soccer match. He was safely evacuated.
More explosions and shooting happened in other parts of Paris as well as in a nearby suburb of Saint-Denis. Gunmen armed with Kalashnikov-style assault rifles went on a shooting spree in two restaurants - Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge.
More shootings in other parts of Paris.
But the deadliest attack was at 9:40 p.m. at Le Bataclan, a concert hall, where an American band "Eagles of Death Metal" was performing to jam-packed audience. Three attackers wearing suicide vests fired at everybody on sight immediately killing 89 people.
BBC’s timeline said that by the time of the Le Bataclan assault, which was a little over 20 minutes from the first attack at Stade de France, “President Hollande was in crisis talks with Prime Minister Manuel Valls as well as Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.”
BBC also reported ”President Hollande visited the scene of the Bataclan atrocity after security forces had moved in. Shortly before midnight, Mr Hollande gave a live address on TV announcing a state of emergency throughout France and a tightening of border controls.”
All that in less than three hours.
Hollande’s message:"My dear compatriots,
“As I speak, terrorist attacks of unprecedented proportions are underway in the Paris area. There are dozens killed, there are many injured. It is a horror.
“We have, on my decision, mobilised all forces possible to neutralise the terrorists and make all concerned areas safe. I have also asked for military reinforcements. They are currently in the Paris area, to ensure that no new attack can take place.
“I have also called a cabinet meeting that will be held in a few minutes.
“Two decisions will be taken: a state of emergency will be declared, which means that some places will be closed, traffic may be banned , and there will also be searches which may be decided throughout Ile de France (greater Paris). The state of emergency will be proclaimed throughout the territory (of France).
“The second decision I have made is to close the borders. We must ensure that no one enters to commit any crimes and that those who have committed the crimes that we have unfortunately seen can also be arrested if they should leave the territory.
“This is a terrible ordeal which once again assails us. We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.
“In these difficult moments, we must - and I'm thinking of the many victims, their families and the injured - show compassion and solidarity. But we must also show unity and calm.
“Faced with terror, France must be strong, it must be great and the state authorities must be firm. We will be.
“We must also call on everyone to be responsible.”
An online friend, Anne de Bruce, based in Europe, shared her thoughts why ISIS has targeted France despite the fact that it did not participate in the invasion of Iraq called by then U.S. President George W. Bush over alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which turned out to be false.
She said, “In recent months, France, which, along with Germany, remains one of the genuinely two big powers in mainland Europe, is the only Western country that has launched bombing raids and airstrikes in Syria (and continues to do so) against ISIS enclaves.
“Looking back, France has also been present in Mali; French troops have pushed ISIS terror strongholds from Timbuktu and into the dessert. France is the first and the only country in the world that has made it illegal for the full Islamic garb to be worn in public which most Muslims in France have denounced virulently ad nauseum. Most recently, France has refused to open its borders completely to Middle Eastern refugees and has declared that it would do so only ‘piecemeal.’
“When terrorists with better ability to organise and strike deal with ordinary people of subterranean mindset or with a generation that still wants to live in the medieval era, actions by France of the sort become easy propaganda tools to use on these highly impressionable individuals. Terror minds operating from the Sub-Sahara only need a few poor perverted souls to sow havoc in mainland Europe.
“Our way of life is in danger. The only thing to do is to defend and counter-attack ruthlessly.”
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.