The Latest: Islamic State group claims responsibility

A person is being evacuated after a shooting, outside the Bataclan theater in Paris, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed over 100 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS (AP) — The latest on shootings and explosions in Paris. (All times local):

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for attacks in Paris that killed over 120 people.

The claim was made in a statement in Arabic and French released online Saturday and circulated by supporters of the group. It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the statement, but it bore the group’s logo and resembled previous statements issued by the group.

French President Francois Hollande had earlier blamed the attacks on the IS group, calling it “an act of war” and vowing to strike back.

___

11:50 a.m.

The German government has ordered flags on official buildings lowered to half-mast Saturday as a sign of solidarity and sorrow over the attacks in Paris.

Flowers, candles and messages of condolence have meanwhile been placed outside the French embassy in Berlin. A vigil was planned there early Saturday afternoon.

___

11:45 a.m.

Nordic governments have condemned the Paris attacks while ordinary citizens laid flowers and lit outside the French embassies across the region.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom talked about “horrible news” while her Danish counterpart Kristian Jensen said “terrorists must be defeated. They cannot break democracies that stand together.”

Finland’s Prime MinisterJuha Sipila says “we must not give space for fear and intolerance.”

After laying flowers outside the French Embassy Saturday, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said “the perpetrators must be pursued and defeated. We will never give up.”

Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf says “it is important that we stand together against this unimaginable terrorism.”

Denmark’s government ordered flags on official buildings lowered to half-mast Saturday as a sign of solidarity.

___

11:35 a.m.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called a meeting of Spain’s National Security Council to “analyze the situation in the wake of the Paris attacks.”

Rajoy says: “We aren’t facing a war of religions, but a battle between civilization and barbarism. They may hurt us, but they can’t beat us.”

Speaking Saturday during a special television appearance, Rajoy says Spain was on high alert and its forces had in the past few weeks stopped several terror attacks.

He adds, “We are at France’s side not just in its pain but also in its fight against those who have caused it.”

___

11:20 a.m.

German media reported Saturday that a 51-year-old man arrested last week after weapons were discovered in his car has been linked to the Paris attacks.

A spokesman for Bavarian state police confirmed that firearms, explosives and hand grenades had been found when undercover police stopped the suspect near the German-Austrian border on Nov. 5.

“He has refused to say what he planned to do or where the weapons came from,” Ludwig Waldinger told The Associated Press. “We are providing no further information at this point.”

Public broadcaster Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that German authorities contacted French officials shortly after the arrest. Citing unnamed investigators, the broadcaster reported that documents found during the arrest indicated that the man was traveling to Paris.

Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that the arms, which it said included an automatic rifle and one kilogram of TNT, were professionally hidden inside the body of the car, a VW Golf.

___

11:10 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande, speaking to the nation, said attacks Friday that killed 127 people were “an act of war.”

He said the attacks on a stadium, concert hall and Paris cafe diners were “committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State group, a jihadist army, against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: A free country that means something to the whole planet.”

He said France “will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group.” France “will act by all means anywhere, inside or outside the country.”

France is already bombing IS targets in Syria and Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition, and has troops fighting extremists in Africa.

___

11 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande says that the Islamic State group orchestrated the worst attacks in France since World War II and vowed to strike back.

Hollande said after an emergency security meeting Saturday that the death toll has risen to 127 in a string of near-simultaneous attacks Friday night on a concert hall, stadium and Paris cafes.

He declared three days of national mourning and put the nation’s security at its highest level.

___

10:50 a.m.

British Prime Minister David Cameron will be convening his government’s security committee to weigh its response to the terror attacks in France.

Cameron has pledged to do “whatever we can to help” following the attacks.

The prime minister will chair a meeting of the security committee Saturday and consider whether to raise the national threat level from “severe,” the second-highest rung on a five-point scale. The current “severe’ level means intelligence officials believe an attack is highly likely.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the national police lead for counter-terrorism, called for “vigilance” from the general public. He says the police are liaising with their counterparts in France.

___

10:35 a.m.

A resident near Paris’ Bataclan concert hall spoke of their shock and disbelief over the gun attack Friday night that left around 80 revelers dead.

Entrepreneur Gabriel Delattre, 31, was arriving home on a bike when he bumped into a nightmarish scene: a man whose shirt was “black with blood” wandering by the side of another man with a large bullet hole in his cheek.

“He was staring at me,” Delattre said. “He was confused and mumbling and didn’t know what he was doing. He just kept saying, ‘We were attacked, we got down on the floor, and we managed to get out. But the others stayed trapped.’”

___

9:40 a.m.

Disneyland Paris is closed to the public in a highly unusual move because of a string of attacks targeting a stadium, concert hall and cafes in Paris that killed at least 120.

The theme park east of Paris, one of Europe’s leading tourist attractions, said in a statement that it decided not to open Saturday “in light of the recent tragic events in France and in support of our community and the victims of these horrendous attacks.”

Some 14 million people visited Disneyland Paris last year.

France has deployed 1,500 extra troops around Paris and is tightening its borders because of Friday’

___

9:35 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel the attackers who killed more than 120 people in Paris overnight “hate freedom.”

Speaking to reporters in Berlin early Saturday, Merkel expressed grief for those who died, saying “they wanted to live the life of free people in a city that celebrates life.”

She says the victims encountered “murderers who hate precisely this life of freedom.”

Merkel said her country stands ready to help France in whichever way it can because the attack “was aimed not just at Paris, it targeted and it hits all of us.”

___

9:30 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande is meeting top government and security officials after suicide bombers targeted a stadium, concert hall and Friday night cafe crowds in attacks that killed at least 120.

The special meeting in the Elysee Palace on Saturday morning comes as police hunt for potential accomplices to eight attackers who were killed in Friday night’s violence. Hollande declared a state of emergency — the first such move in a decade — and ordered 1,500 additional troops deployed.

The attacks raise concerns about international events that France is hosting, such as a UNESCO forum in Paris on Monday with world leaders, and major climate talks in Paris in two weeks.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and army, gendarme and police chiefs were among those at the meeting.

___

9:30 a.m.

Czech authorities have increased security measures all across the country following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Police say they have deployed forces at all international airports, shopping centers and the French embassy in the Czech capital.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says he is “horrified by the number of the innocent victims. France deserves all our possible support and solidarity.”

President Milos Zeman has offered condolences to relatives of the victims. “We are all with France and its people,” Zeman said in a statement.

___

9:30 a.m.

Germany’s foreign minister says his country stands by France after the attacks in Paris, which he described as an “inferno of terror.”

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was present during the football friendly between France and Germany on Friday night, when three suicide bombs targeted spots around the national stadium.

Steinmeier said Saturday on the sidelines of the Syria talks in Vienna that “the extent of the horror … exceeds everyone’s imagination.”

___

9 a.m.

Some 1,500 extra soldiers have been mobilized to guard French facilities and schools and universities are closed because of the country’s deadliest attacks in decades.

Many French schools are normally open on Saturdays, but the French government ordered them shuttered as part of emergency security measures.

Soldiers were deployed at key sites around Paris, including Parliament buildings and religious sites.

___

8:50 a.m.

Germany has offered France the help of its special anti-terror unit in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas des Maiziere said in a statement Saturday that he is in touch with his French counterpart “and I have offered him the help of German special forces.”

Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said de Maiziere had offered “all support, including special forces such as the GSG9.”

The GSG9 anti-terror unit was created after the attacks on the Munich Olympics in 1972 and saw its first major operation during the hijacking of a Lufthansa plane by a Palestinian group

___

8 a.m.

The Vatican has condemned “in the most radical way” the terror attacks in Paris.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement early Saturday that the violence was “an attack on peace for all humanity.”

He said it requires “a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all of its forms.”

Lombardi said the Vatican was praying for the victims and the wounded, “and for all the French people.”

___

7 a.m.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has canceled trips to France and Italy after terror attacks in Paris that killed over 120 people.

The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying Saturday that Iran “itself has been a victim of the scourge of terrorism” and the fight against terrorism must go on. It did not elaborate why he canceled the visit, but authorities said the trip would be rescheduled.

Rouhani was due in days to travel to France and Italy. France was one of the world powers involved in recent negotiations with the Islamic Republic over its contested nuclear program.

Hossein Jaber Ansari, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, also was quoted by IRNA as saying: “Those terrorist groups that committed the Paris crimes do not believe in ethical principles and they are not loyal to any type of divine religions — including Islam.”

___

6:35 a.m.

Friends and relatives are using social media to search for loved ones feared to have been at the sites of the Paris attacks.

“We are looking for Marie, who was at the Bataclan, we have no news from her. If you see her, please contact me #Bataclan”, reads one tweet from @Photographys, posted with a photo.

“If you have news of Christophe aka @MokeComputer he was at Bataclan tonight and we need to hear from him,” tweets a user named @Lorelei_Jade.

Facebook also offered its “Safety Check” feature to allow users who listed to mark themselves as safe if they listed Paris as their location.

Earlier in the evening, Parisians used the hashtag #portesouvertes, or “open doors,” to offer a place to stay for people who were evacuated from the sites of the attacks. In the U.S., some used the hashtag #strandedinUS to offer shelter for people who were unable to travel back to France.

___

6:25 a.m.

Across the Persian Gulf, countries are condemning the mass terror attack in Paris that killed at least 120 people.

In the United Arab Emirates, the state-run WAM news agency said Saturday that Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a telegram to French President Francois Hollande offering his condolences and pledging support for France. WAM said Al Nahyan also supported doing “what it takes to face terrorism and eliminate it.”

In tiny Kuwait, emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said in a statement that he offered his condolences, while stressing that “these criminal acts of terrorism … run counter to all teachings of holy faith and humanitarian values.”

In Saudi Arabia, the state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry official denouncing Friday’s attack.

___

4:35 a.m.

A U.S. official briefed by the Justice Department says intelligence officials were not aware of any threats before a series of attacks in Paris.

The official says 70 U.S. citizens currently known to be in France have not yet been accounted for, although no Americans have been reported killed in Friday’s attacks.

The official says all members of Eagles of Death Metal, the California-based band that was to perform at the Paris venue where one attack occurred, are safe and have been accounted for.

The official was not authorized to discuss the briefing publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

-AP reporter Michael Balsamo in New York.

___

4:18 a.m.

Those who survived an attack on a Paris concert venue physically unscathed have been bused to a special crisis center for psychological support.

Some walked in dazed, their shoulders draped with emergency blankets.

Dozens of emergency workers and Red Cross workers in orange vests gathered in front of the building, the headquarters of Paris’ 11th arrondissement, or district. A few police officers in bullet-proof vests stood nearby.

After meeting with counselors, some survivors were put in taxis to head home.

They had been at the Bataclan concert hall for a show of American band Eagles of Death Metal.

___

2:51 a.m.

The rock band U2 has postponed its Saturday night concert in Paris in the light of the deadly attacks across the city on Friday night.

HBO had planned to televise the band’s performance. Instead, U2 says in a statement that it is resolved to go ahead with the concert “at an appropriate time.”

For television viewers, HBO said it would replace the planned show with the film “Jersey Boys.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s