The terrorist attacks in Paris that left 127 people dead were an “act of war” carried out by the Islamic State extremist group, French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday.
“Because it was attacked in a cowardly way, in a shameful way, in a violent way, France will be ruthless against the barbarians of Daesh,” Hollande said in an address to the nation, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. He called them “a terrorist army”.
“It was an act of war that was prepared, organised or planned from outside and with domestic involvement that the investigation will allow to establish,” he added. “All the measures to protect our fellow citizens and our territory have been taken.”
Eight assailants were killed, seven when they detonated their explosive belts, and one when he was shot by officers, police said. The Paris police chief earlier told reporters “all” the attackers died, and a hunt was on for any accomplices.
Three days of national mourning are to be held in the country, Hollande announced. He called for the French to be united and to keep a cool head, saying that their country “always gets back up, even if it is injured”.
His comments came following a meeting of France’s defence council to discuss strategies to deal with the series of terrorist attacks, which included one at a concert venue, another at a restaurant and at least one near the national stadium where France was playing Germany in a football match.
Two hundred people were injured, including 80 seriously, according to a source close the investigation. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on the French capital.
At least 80 people were killed at the Bataclan concert venue, while attackers also carried out at least one suicide bombing near the stadium, several local media reported.
French authorities have announced the closure of many public facilities. “Schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and food markets” will all remain shut, the city said on Twitter.
Hospitals in the capital city have set the so-called “White Plan” in motion, a state of emergency for all emergency services and public health facilities, Le Monde newspaper reported.
The Education Ministry announced on social media that all school trips this weekend had been cancelled. All university facilities in the Paris area would also be closed on Saturday.
Disneyland Paris said it was closing its theme park outside the city for the day in a show of solidarity with the community.
German airlines Lufthansa and Germanwings told dpa that all flights to Paris would run “according to plan” on Saturday.
The Eurostar cross-Channel train service has offered customers who do not wish to travel from London to Paris “free exchanges” for their tickets.
The French government has declared a state of emergency, tightened border controls and mobilized 1 500 soldiers. More crisis talks were expected in Paris later on Saturday. Other European governments also held emergency meetings to discuss their response to the attacks.
Police confirmed on Saturday the arrest of a man in the southern German state of Bavaria for arms trafficking, fanning speculation that he may have been connected to deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
The 51-year-old Montenegrin was stopped on November 5 on a motorway near Bad Feinbach, around 60km southeast of Munich. Officers found a cache of weapons in his car, including several machine guns, hand grenades and bomb devices, a police spokesperson said.
Media reported that he was heading for the French capital and may be linked to the terrorist attacks there. The spokesperson could not confirm the reports, adding that weapons smuggling is a common crime.