Security forces launched an assault on the Bataclan venue in central Paris to free hostages taken by alleged jihadists, killing three.
One Paris police official has described “carnage” inside the building, saying the attackers had tossed explosives at the hostages.
A witness said an attacker had earlier yelled “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) and fired into the crowd at the concert, given by US rock band Eagles of Death Metal.
— EaglesOfDeathMetal (@EODMofficial) November 13, 2015
It’s been reported the band, though not all its crew are now accounted for, and that popular frontman Josh Homme, who also fronts rock group Queens of the Stone Age, was not present at the venue.
The police operation followed at least six simultaneous attacks across the French capital.
The Bataclan hall is only 200 metres from the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, which were attacked by jihadists in January.
Another three people were reported killed near the Stade de France stadium in the north of the capital, where France was playing Germany in a football match.
French President Francois Hollande was evacuated from the stadium before the end of the match.
He later declared a state of emergency across the country and announced the closure of France’s borders.
Spectators at the stadium flooded the pitch as news of the attacks spread. Organisers started evacuating the stadium by three doors.
Another attack was reported at a Cambodian restaurant called Petit Cambodge, not far from the Bataclan venue in northeast Paris.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, called for residents to stay at home.
“We heard gunfire, 30 seconds of fire, it was interminable, we thought it was fireworks,” said Pierre Montfort, who lives near rue Bichat, where one of the attacks took place.
The toll “will be much heavier” than the initial confirmed deaths, a security source said.
“My sister is in the Bataclan,” said Camille, 25.
“I phoned her. She said they opened fire. And then she hung up.”
“Everyone was on the floor, no one moved,” said one witness from the Petit Cambodge restaurant.
“A girl was carried by a young man in his arms. She appeared to be dead.”
An AFP reporter outside the Bataclan said there were armed police and some 20 police wagons with their lights flashing around the scene.
European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “deeply shocked” by the attacks.
France has been on high alert since the jihadist attacks in January against Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket that left 17 dead.
Several other attacks have been foiled through the year.
More than 500 French fighters are thought to be with IS in Syria and Iraq, according to official figures, while 250 have returned and some 750 expressed a desire to go there.
The government announced last week that it was restoring border checks as a security measure for UN climate talks that start in Paris at the end of this month.
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