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France vows 'merciless' response after attacks kill 127
An angry President Francois Hollande on Saturday promised a "merciless" response to a wave of attacks by gunmen and bombers that killed 127 people across Paris, describing the assault claimed by Islamic State as an act of war against France.
In the worst attack, a Paris city hall official said four gunmen systematically slaughtered at least 87 young people at a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall before anti-terrorist commandos launched an assault on the building. Dozens of survivors were rescued, and bodies were still being recovered on Saturday morning.
Some 40 more people were killed in five other attacks in the Paris region, the official said, including an apparent double suicide bombing outside the Stade de France national stadium, where Hollande and the German foreign minister were watching a friendly soccer international.
The assaults came as France, a founder member of the U.S.-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, was on high alert for terrorist attacks.
It was the worst such attack in Europe since the Madrid train bombings of 2004, in which 191 died.
Hollande said the attacks had been organized from abroad by Islamic State, with internal help.
Sources close to the investigation said one of the dead gunmen was French with ties to Islamist militants. Syrian and Egyptian passports were found near the bodies of two of the suicide bombers.
A man arrested in Germany in early November after guns and explosives were found in his car may be linked to the attacks in Paris, Bavaria's state premier said, without giving details.
"Faced with war, the country must take appropriate action," Hollande said after an emergency meeting of security chiefs. He also announced three days of national mourning.
"France will be merciless towards these barbarians from Daesh," he said, using an Arab acronym for Islamic State.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement: “The war we must wage should be total.”
During a visit to Vienna, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said "we are witnessing a kind of medieval and modern fascism at the same time."
In its claim of responsibility, Islamic State said the attacks were a response to France's campaign against its fighters.
It also distributed an undated video in which a militant said France would not live peacefully as long it took part in U.S.-led bombing raids against them.