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French President Declares State Of Emergency After Paris Attacks


French media now reporting up to 60 people are dead in multiple attacks in Paris. The president of France has declared a state of emergency and has closed its borders. The details of what is happening are still not clear. President Obama condemned the attacks at the White House a short while ago. He called the shootings and explosions an outrageous attempt to terrorize civilians.


BARACK OBAMA: This is an attack not just on Paris. It's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share. We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond. France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States time and again, and we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

CORNISH: Joining us now is NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reporting from Paris. And Eleanor, can you give us the latest? Take us through the incidents as you know them.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Yes, Audie. Well, it started apparently around 9:30 this evening. It's been a really warm autumn, and people are out sitting at cafes. And a car drove by a restaurant, a Cambodian restaurant, and just opened fire with Kalashnikovs at people sitting outside on the terrace. And so that's where it started. There was another point where people got into a nightclub - it's an entertainment club - and so that - there's a hostage-taking situation that is still underway. And witnesses described elite units going in, and there's been shooting, and that has not even finished yet. So we don't even know the outcome of that. A third thing that happened is this the Stade de France, which is the national stadium where France and Germany were playing a friendly game of soccer - there were two explosions, and two suicide bombers blew themselves up and - French media is saying, in the stadium. And they're reporting bodies that were dismembered. And that stadium is being evacuated as we talk. And there were even images on the TV of people just came out onto the field to take refuge. They were lying down on the grass in the stadium - these surreal images. People have - the police have told everyone to go home in Paris. Do not come out. And we're seeing empty streets in what are usually just very vibrant neighborhoods on a Friday night. As you said, Francois Hollande, the president, spoke. He had sort of a very emotional voice. He declared a state of emergency for the entire nation, and he's closed the borders. They're checking the borders. And witnesses are talking of shooting, blood, guns. And it's just complete chaos, and no one has the exact death toll or anything yet.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Eleanor Beardsley speaking to us from Paris about the attacks there. Eleanor, thank you.

BEARDSLEY: You're welcome, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.