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Diplomacy and Conflict • Guerrilla Warfare

On November 13, 2015, militants attacked numerous sites in Paris, France, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds more. The attacks, carried out by three teams of gunmen and suicide bombers thought to be associated with Islamic State (ISIS), were coordinated and near-simultaneous.

Three Separate Attacks

The Stade de France was the first location attacked; three suicide bombers detonated bombs just outside the stadium, where a soccer game between France and Germany was in progress. French president François Hollande was at the game and was rushed to safety. Only one bystander was killed, in addition to the three attackers, because the bombers were unable to pass through security checks at the stadium entrances.

Meanwhile, a team of gunmen attacked customers in an area popular for its nightlife, closer to the center of Paris. The gunmen traveled to a number of bars and restaurants by car, opening fire on diners. Thirty-nine were killed. One of the shooters detonated a suicide bomb following the attacks, killing himself.

The Bataclan concert hall was the site of the third and deadliest attack when gunmen opened fire on the crowd of concert-goers. Eighty-nine people died. One of the attackers was shot by police and the other two detonated suicide belts, killing themselves.

In response, President Hollande declared a state of emergency that included heightened security measures and promised to intensify France's efforts to defeat ISIS in Syria. In fact, on November 15, French bombers attacked ISIS targets in Raqqa, Syria. Hollande also announced he would meet with U.S. president Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss coordinating efforts to fight ISIS. In addition, raids to find and arrest suspected terrorists continued for days across France and in neighboring Belgium.

International Response

Following the attacks, there was an international outpouring of support for France from individuals on social media expressing sympathy and solidarity, as well as from leaders around the world, who promised greater cooperation in fighting ISIS. Media and social media outlets also were criticized because of what some viewed as the lack of attention paid to the ISIS bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, which happened the day before the Paris attacks and killed 43 and wounded more than 200.

Less than a month earlier, a Russian passenger jet exploded over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board. Russian officials reported that a two-pound, homemade bomb likely brought down the plane, and many considered ISIS to most likely be behind the bombing. The Russian government offered a $50 million reward for information about those who planted the bomb.

In the United States, a group of mostly Republican governors announced on November 16, that they objected to any Syrian refugees resettling in their states. This announcement came after the discovery that one of the Paris perpetrators was believed to have entered France with a wave of Syrian refugees in October 2015. President Barack Obama criticized the response as based on "hysteria"; his administration countered that all refugees undergo a rigorous screening process.

Many international observers speculated that the Paris attacks, the Beirut bombings, and the probable downing of the Russian aircraft signaled an expansion of ISIS' reach from beyond territory it had seized in the Middle East. In addition, many feared the attacks by a handful of suicide gunmen and bombers indicated a change in the group's tactics, and one that would be harder to combat. Nevertheless, many world leaders vowed to intensify the fight against the violent extremist organization.

Francois "hysteria";
Julie Dunbar
Julie Dunbar is the editorial manager for World Geography: Understanding a Changing World, United States Geography, and Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society databases. She received her BA in human geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and her MFA in writing from Naropa University, also in Boulder. In addition, she has completed graduate coursework in history at the University of Texas, Arlington, with an emphasis in the American West.

MLA Citation

Dunbar, Julie. "Paris Terrorist Attacks (2015)." World History: The Modern Era, ABC-CLIO, 2019, worldhistory.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/1992550. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2180538

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