Terror strikes Beirut, Paris

By: Nick Bergeman ~Staff Writer~

Parisian Pic
Photo courtesy of nola.com | People show support for Parisians during a vigil in Montreal on Nov. 13

The terrorist organization known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) staged coordinated bombings and shootings in Beirut, Lebanon on Nov. 12 and Paris on Nov. 13, killing more than 100 and injuring more than 500 civilians.

Two bombings in a busy section of southern Beirut claimed the lives of 43 people with more than 200 injured. The attack was the deadliest since 1990, coming in the midst of the now 15-year-long civil war in Lebanon.

Two men wearing suicide bombs carried out the attack about five minutes apart from each other, with the first occurring outside a Shia mosque that the bomber attempted to enter and the second inside a bakery not far from the mosque.

Officials report that an additional bomb that failed to detonate was found on a third man, who died at the scene of the second blast. One man has been taken into custody by Lebanese authorities in connection to the attacks.

Hezbollah, the militant Islamist group and political party based in Lebanon, has denounced the attack and ISIS , calling the attack “barbaric.” The neighborhood of Beirut where the blasts occurred is heavily populated by Shia Muslims and contains a strong Hezbollah presence. Hezbollah has been fighting ISIS in Syria and has bolstered its own forces since the attack.

The following day, tragedy struck again in a series of shootings, bombings and hostage situations in Paris, leaving 129 dead so far and more than 350 injured. The attack was the most deadly in France since World War II.

The majority of the deaths occurred at the Bataclan theatre, where the terrorists opened fire on a crowd attending a concert and held hostages for a time before two of the terrorists took their own lives with suicide belts and a third was killed by police gunfire. Three suicide bombers detonated near the national sports stadium, the Strade de France. Other bombings and shootings took place in various public places across the city.

Seven attackers died the night of the attack, but French officials report that an analysis of the attacks shows that one person directly involved in the attacks is still unaccounted for and still unidentified. French authorities are in the process of executing a manhunt for the final conspirator.

In addition to the direct attackers, Iraqi intelligence has reported that there were 19 conspirators involved in the attacks in some manner and five additional conspirators providing logistical support, though French authorities have not confirmed these numbers.

Since the attacks, French authorities have made 16 arrests, conducted 104 raids and have already carried out three retaliatory strikes in Raqqa, Syria, an ISIS stronghold. France vows further retaliation against ISIS and has received a wide outpouring of support from across the world.