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Dozens dead, 100 taken hostage in night of terror; Scores dead on night of terror in Paris.

Byline: Agency reporters newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

DOZENS of people were killed and scores taken hostage in Paris in a series of what appeared to be co-ordinated terrorist attacks last night.

French President Francois Hollande last night declared a state of emergency across the country. He ordered troops to support police, and announced that the country's borders had been sealed.

Officials said between 40 and 60 people were killed in violence around the city and the news agency Associated Press said that at least 100 hostages were taken by gunmen at the Bataclan concert hall.

Shots were fired in at least two restaurants and two explosions were heard near the Stade de France stadium, where the national side was playing Germany in a friendly football match.

There were unconfirmed reports of other shootings at Les Halles, the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre.

President Hollande was at the stadium but was evacuated to hold an emergency meeting.

The AP reported an explosion at a bar near the stadium, and said it was "unclear" if anyone had been hurt.

Pictures posted online showed cracked windows of what appeared to be a restaurant.

Opposite, the road opens up into a junction, where around 30 or 40 people were standing outside their cars and on the road. Police cars were seen behind them, while the road appeared to be closed.

Police officials confirmed the two incidents to the Associated Press.

Eyewitness Ben Grant said he was in a bar with his wife when the gunshots were fired and he had seen six or seven bodies on the ground.

He told the BBC: "I was told people in cars had opened fire on the bar.

"There are lots of dead people. It's pretty horrific to be honest.

"I was at the back of the bar. I couldn't see anything.

"I heard gunshots. People dropped to the ground. We put a table over our heads to protect us.

"We were held up in the bar turn to Page 2 from Page 1 because there was a pile of bodies in front of us."

It emerged late last night that Merthyr Tydfil band Pretty Vicious were in lockdown at La Boule Noire, where they had been performing, a venue that is a mile away from the Bataclan where hostages were taken. In an address at the White House, President Obama described the attacks as an attack on all of humanity and promised to provide "any assistance" France needs.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I am shocked by events in Paris tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people.

"We will do whatever we can to help."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the attacks were "heinous and immoral".

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond posted on Twitter: "Deeply shocked by appalling attacks in Paris tonight. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. Concerned by reports of hostages taken."

Archbishop of Canterbury Most Rev Justin Welby said: "Tragic Paris, desperate news of deep tragedy, with heartbreak for so many. We weep with those affected, pray for deliverance and justice."

The attacks come almost a year after the Charlie Hebdo atrocity, which took place in January and saw 12 people killed after gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical magazine.

In June, France launched a terrorism investigation after on to walesonline.co.uk police found a decapitated body in a gas factory in the south-eastern city of Lyon.

And two months later three Americans and one Briton were awarded medals for bravery after they overpowered a heavily armed gunman on a train in France.

CAPTION(S):

Rescue workers and medics work try to tend the wounded while the bodies of dead victims lie covered on a Paris street after at least two shootings - at a <B restaurant and at a bar

Police secure the Stade de France stadium during the international friendly football match <B
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Nov 14, 2015
Words:648
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