On the evening of 13 November 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks—consisting of mass shootings, suicide bombings, and hostage-taking—occurred in Paris and in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis. Beginning at 21:20 CET, there were three separate suicide bombings outside the Stade de France along with mass shootings and another suicide bombing at four different locations near central Paris. The deadliest of those attacks took place at the Bataclan theatre, where attackers took hostages before engaging in a stand-off with police which ended at 00:58 on 14 November. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
129 victims were killed, 89 of them at the Bataclan theatre. Another 433 people were admitted to hospital with injuries sustained in the attacks, including 80 described as being critically injured. In addition to the victims, seven attackers died, and the authorities continued to search for any accomplices remaining at large.The attacks were the deadliest in France since World War II,and the deadliest in Europe since the Madrid train bombings in 2004.
In response, French President François Hollande announced a state of emergency, the first since the 2005 riots, and placed temporary controls on the country’s borders. He also placed Paris under the first curfew since World War II. People and organizations expressed solidarity including through social media. Hollande declared the attacks as “an act of war”. On 15 November, France launched its largest single airstrike of Opération Chammal, its contribution to the anti-ISIL bombing campaign, by striking targets in Al-Raqqah, Syria, in retaliation for the attacks.
Prior to the attack, France had been bombing various targets in the Middle East, including Syria, since October 2015. ISIL’s motive was retaliation for French involvement in the Syrian Civil War and Iraqi Civil War. In the weeks leading up to the attacks, ISIL had claimed responsibility for several attacks, such as twin suicide bombings in Beirut two days earlier, and the crashing of Metrojet Flight 9268 on 31 October. France had been on high alert since the January 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 17 people, including civilians and police officers.