Explosions could be heard during the first half, a friendly match between France and world champions Germany that took place at Stade de France. At full time, the fans filled the pitch as they sheltered from horrific acts of terror around the city.
The attacks were being carried out by members of Islamic State around the city of Paris, which has only recently recovered from the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January.
In the game itself, France defeated Germany 2-0, with goals from Olivier Giroud and Andre-Pierre Gigna. By the time Gigna scored, 86 minutes in, fans had already started leaving as news of the attacks filtered through the stadium. At the end of the match, fans were allowed to stay in the Stade de France, using the pitch as refuge.
French fan Frederic Lavergne told reporters, “We heard them, but we thought they were home-made devices or fireworks.” In a possibly controversial decision, French association football officials elected during half-time not to tell fans in the stadium what was happening outside in the city. Fédération Française de Football president Noel le Graet said at the Stade de France, “We didn’t want to spread panic in the crowd,” adding “The French Football Federation shares the pain of the bereaving families and their loved ones.”
The terror attacks that have ravaged Paris saw six attacks across the city, with an estimated total of 120 people killed. Many were killed at the 1,500 capacity concert hall Bataclan, where US-based band Eagles of Death Metal were playing. The event had been sold out in advance. Security police were on the scene within an hour and killed the four attackers; one eyewitness had earlier heard one of the gunmen saying, “”It’s the fault of Hollande, it’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria”.”
The other sites that were attacked saw more killed, with restaurants such as La Belle Equipe on rue de Charonne, Le Carillion Bar and Le Petit Cambodge on rue Alibert among the locations that saw terror inflicted on the usually peaceful streets.
Back at the Stade de France, French President Francois Hollande was evacuated before the game with over, later giving a short speech at the Bataclan concert venue, where at least 80 died. He appeared visibly shaken by the attacks on his country, saying that the attacks were an “abomination” and the terrorists will be “confronted by a France that is determined, unified, and pulled together.” Earlier, he also declared a state of national emergency, as well as tightening border controls on a night of the worst violence France has seen since World War II.
The perpetrators of the attacks, Islamic State, have claimed responsibility and said that the attacks were a response to direct insults toward the prophet Muhammad and air-strikes by France on Islamic State territory, also saying that the attacks are the “start of a storm”.
The international response was just as horrified. US president Barack Obama said that it was an “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”, while David Cameron tweeted that he was “shocked by events in France” and that the UK will “do whatever we can to help”.
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.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) November 13, 2015
On Saturday morning a banner was put up by French citizens on the Marianne symbol in the Place de la République. It reads “I am human.”