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French Prosecutor Lays Out What Investigators Know About Paris Attacks


We've been reporting this morning that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terror attacks that have struck Paris last night. The Paris prosecutor Francois Molins spoke to reporters just a few moments ago. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Paris, where he's monitoring events. Peter, thanks so much for being with us.


SIMON: And the prosecutor gave a timeline of events as they've been able to put it together. To recap much of what happened last night, what did we hear? What did you notice?

KENYON: Well, the main point of this was to reinforce the notion that these attacks - these terrible attacks - were a very well-coordinated effort. The prosecutor cited the identical weapons, Kalashnikovs; identical explosive belts being worn by many of the attackers and a couple of black cars that would pull up at a restaurant or at a concert scene and, all of a sudden, the carnage would begin.

And in several of the sites, at least 100 rounds were fired. One hundred twenty-nine dead is the toll right now. But that could rise because dozens of people are in intensive care.

On those cars - they were identified by make - one's called a SEAT, and one is called a Polo. And the man who was responsible for those cars was captured at the Belgian border and - with two other people. According to the prosecutor, which we just heard from, there is an investigation in Belgium. They were living near Brussels. He was very reluctant to go into any detail. He said anything they're finding must be preserved to allow them to follow out their leads. But it sounds like this was a deadly attack - 89 people at one concert and several others at restaurants and at the stadium, of course, the double suicide bombing there.

SIMON: Yeah. Now this degree of coordination would suggest that this - if anybody was under this impression, this wasn't a spontaneous event. This would take days, weeks of planning to be able to find out when the crowds would be maximum, what sites to choose, what weaponry, that sort of thing, wouldn't it?

KENYON: I think absolutely yes. That is the impression the prosecutor's trying to give. He said they have been coordinating with other authorities around Europe. We've had some mention now of this investigation in Brussels. And I think it's safe to assume that there'll be other investigations in other countries that we're not hearing a lot about yet but which we should look for details in the coming days.

SIMON: And what about the possibility of other accomplices that French authorities are trying to find, people that may have gone to ground, perhaps, in the hours following the attacks?

KENYON: There was nothing really on that, but it'd been, again, he said at more than one point, I'm not going to tell you everything. We need to maintain some of our secrets because this is a very live investigation. And presumably, that could be one of them. If there are other people out there who are a risk that they think they can track down, they're not going to reveal their intentions.

Now they are also hoping that they can get more information from the public. But again, it's a multiple-coordinated effort.

SIMON: And the prosecutor seemed to be satisfied that the attacks have - the attacks are over? There's no second wave yet to come.

KENYON: There doesn't seem to be a second wave at this point. You can never tell with these things, of course. The city is on edge. Memorials are happening all around the city. The people are very much in shock. A lot of people did stay indoors. Some are coming out, trying to resume normal life. But it is very, very difficult, indeed, will probably remain so.

SIMON: NPR's Peter Kenyon speaking with us from Paris. Thanks very much for being with us, Peter.

KENYON: Thanks, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Peter Kenyon is NPR's international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey.