PARIS, France – Travelers were left stranded across France today as the country began dealing with the aftermath of the worst terrorist atrocity since World War Two. Border Police vetted long lines of tourists who were attempting to leave the country as they tried to catch terrorists fleeing the country.
Yesterday Paris was rocketed by an explosion outside the France versus Germany soccer match, forcing the President of the Republic to be evacuated. Terrorists then machine gun attacked the Bataclan concert hall and a number of Paris cafés.
At France's largest airport, Charles De Gualle, the arrival hall was left virtually empty as flights reported half their inbound passengers had decided not to bother travelling. On one flight from Manchester (UK) passengers were delayed because so few travelers had turned up the weight and fuel calculations had to be completely redone.
The captain of the FlyBe jet told customers: “I'm sorry for the delay but we've got to do a lot of paperwork because we have a lot fewer people than were booked. They have decided not to fly to Paris today, which is understandable.
French President, Francois Hollande, told Associated Press the attack was "committed by a terrorist army”. He went on to confirm the culprit was linked to the Islamic State (IS), saying the attack went “against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are. A free country that means something to the whole planet." He said France would “hold firm” in the face of the terror threat.
Hollande described his country as: “a determined France, a united France, a France that joins together and a France that will not allow itself to be staggered even if today, there is infinite emotion faced with this disaster, this tragedy, which is an abomination, because it is barbarism."
Despite his tough talk the streets of Paris were noticeably quiet today, the usual Christmas shoppers were gone. Popular tourist attractions were also closed by heavily armed Police. Those American tourists that braved the outdoors today were left travelling from site to site in the vane hope of finding an open attraction.
Across the English Channel the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, convened a meeting of the COBRA committee, a top level security group that deals with national emergencies. Mr Cameron described the attacks as “horrifying and sickening”, he confirmed security at British ports would be put on high alert like their French counterparts.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said: “We can’t let the terrorists defeat us by becoming fearful and withdrawing from the streets. It comes down to trust between communities and the ability for the public to trust the police and work with us and supply us with the sort of information they have been very effectively over the past year.”
“We are strengthening our policing stance across the country at the moment, and we are reviewing that later this morning, no doubt, with the prime minister at Cobra.”
So far French authorities have said at least 127 people have been killed, it is widely expected to rise.