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French Newspaper Editor Describes Attacks In Central Location Of Paris


Now we have Alain Barluet on the line. He is a foreign editor at Le Figaro, the national daily newspaper in France. Thank you for joining us.

ALAIN BARLUET: Yes, thank you. And good - we are in the middle of the night now in Paris. And it's been really a shock, and will be a trauma for the next days for the capital. We had a series of attacks, six or seven locations in the center of Paris, in the suburb, as you said, near the Stade de France where there was a soccer match between France and Germany.

MCEVERS: This is the national stadium with the president of France was in attendance at the time.

BARLUET: Yes, he was attending. And it was reported there that we have, just outside the stadium, two suicide bombers exploding and killing three or four people. All those figures are not stable yet, but if it was the case - were the case, it would be then the first time that we have suicide bombers on French territory. That would be something. And approximately at the same time in the center of Paris, close to the Place de la Republique where - exactly where hundreds of thousand people gathered in January after the Charlie attack on this newspaper - as I said, seven locations. There were people, three or four - the figures are unknown - shooting on a restaurant and then on cafes, where at this time it was around 9, half past 9 or at 10 o'clock in the evening. Many people were just beginning their weekends there.

MCEVERS: You mentioned the Republique. This is a very central location in Paris.

BARLUET: Very central location, and there were, well, plenty, plenty of people in bars and restaurants. And so around 140 people were killed in these different locations. But the more heavy of the casualties occurred in this - as you mentioned, in this concert hall where a rock band was playing. And there were around a thousand people in this place. And as witnesses and some people who managed to escape just explained on media here, three or four people, unmasked, ran into the hall where the band was playing and start shooting.

MCEVERS: Three or four gunmen running into that concert hall.

BARLUET: Yes, gunmen. Gunmen, yes - and shouting just at everyone who was moving. Some reports told that they were shouting Allahu akbar and saying, this is for Syria.

MCEVERS: And is this is something you were able - your reporters were able to confirm, or are you hearing these from other media reports?

BARLUET: We - just witnesses, people who managed to escape and then talk to radio and television outside the concert hall. And then the special police managed to enter the building. We don't know at this time if there's any casualties among the police and military. But it is reported that it should be around 70 to a hundred people killed in this concert hall and many, many people wounded. So this is only - the casualty will not be known before tomorrow.

MCEVERS: We know there's a curfew. We know the city is on lockdown. How were people trying to get to safety? Were they reaching out to each other, helping each other?

BARLUET: Yes. Some very unusual initiatives were taken. The taxis were taking people...

MCEVERS: The taxis.

BARLUET: ...Giving them lift to their places free. And on the Internet and Twitter, people proposed to open their homes for people in the center of the capital and able to reach their places because most of the metro lines were closed and buses, too. So...

MCEVERS: So people in Paris actually volunteering to let people come into their homes.

BARLUET: Yeah. Fortunately in this very shocking moment, we will have some solidarity hopefully.

MCEVERS: That's Alain Barluet. He is a foreign editor at the French newspaper Le Figaro. Thank you so much. Please stay safe.

BARLUET: Thank you. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.