- Publish Date
- Saturday, 14 November 2015, 1:44PM
French police have stormed the Paris concert hall where about 100 heavy-metal fans are reported to have been killed in a terrorist attack this morning (NZT).
Two of the gunmen, who were holding dozens of others hostage, are reported to have been killed. News agencies say the crisis at the Le Bataclan concert hall is over.
The French channel iTele, quoting unnamed officials at the Bataclan, said there were "dozens" of bodies inside the club.
The atrocity at the music venue was one of a series of apparently co-ordinated attacks in the heart of the French capital.
At least 11 other people were killed at a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge, in the 10th arrondisement (district), where gunmen shot at diners with AK47 weapons.
Two loud explosions - reportedly set off by suicide bombers - were also heard outside the Stade de France sports stadium where the French football team were playing a friendly match against Germany. French President Francois Hollande was in the stands.
He was evacuated, and football fans were asked to leave the stands and assemble on the field.
At the music venue, where California group Eagles of Death Metal were performing, gunfire and blasts rang out as the police started their rescue mission. Sirens wailed throughout the neighbourhood.
Hollande has closed the country's borders and declared a state of emergency in response to the unprecedented atrocities.
In a televised address to his nation, he said France would stand firm and united against the attackers.
One witness to events around the Cambodian restaurant told news.com.au he heard gunshots as he was walking along a street. When he arrived outside the restaurant, he saw bodies on the ground.
"I saw three bodies being put into body bags," said Fabien Baron, a student.
Emilioi Macchio, from Ravenna, Italy, was at the Carillon bar near the restaurant when the shooting started. He told news.com.au he didn't see any gunmen or victims, but hid behind a corner, then ran away. "It sounded like fireworks."
Australian expat Sam Davies, 33, is locked in a bar about 300 metres from the attacked restaurant. He said most bars in the area had gone into lockdown. "Everyone is wandering around dazed in a state of shock," he told News Corp Australia.
On Facebook, a spokesman for the Eagles of Death Metal group wrote: "We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew. Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation."
In his address to the French people, Hollande explained his decision to seal off the nation's borders:
"We must guarantee that no one can come in to commit any act. And at the same time those who may have committed crimes can be arrested if they try to leave the country.
"I have decided that we should mobilise all the forces we have to enable the neutralisation of the terrorists and to put in place security in all areas that could be concerned.
"I have also asked for military reinforcements. They are at this moment in the Greater Paris area to ensure no further attack takes place."
He spoke of his thoughts for the "very numerous victims, their families, the wounded" and appealed for compassion and solidarity.
France had to display "sang-froid" in responding to "terrorism", the president said.
"What the terrorists want is to scare us," he added.
United States security officials believe the attacks were co-ordinated.
President Barack Obama, speaking to his nation from the White House, condemned the atrocities as an "attack on all of humanity" and pledged to work with France to bring those responsible to justice.
"Whenever these kinds of attacks happen, we've always been able to count on the French people to stand with us. They have been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner. And we intend to be there with them in that same fashion," Obama said.
He called the attacks outrageous and said the situation was heartbreaking.