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Deadly Attacks Rip Paris

  • VOA Staff

Medical staff stand by victims in a Paris restaurant, Nov. 13, 2015.

Medical staff stand by victims in a Paris restaurant, Nov. 13, 2015.

French officials say gunmen have opened fire and set off explosions in several places in the capital, Paris, and have taken hostages at the city's Bataclan concert hall.

A French police offical told VOA that 41 people have been confirmed dead in the attacks, and several dozen hostages were taken.

Witnesses say at least one man opened fire with an automatic gun at a restaurant in the city's 10th district.

WATCH: Video from the scene

Victims lay on the pavement in a Paris restaurant, Nov. 13, 2015.

Victims lay on the pavement in a Paris restaurant, Nov. 13, 2015.

Another attack — an explosion — was reported in a bar near the national stadium [Stade de France] north of Paris, where France was hosting a soccer match with Germany. It is not clear if anyone was hurt.

French President Francois Hollande was watching the match and has been evacuated. Officials say the president is holding an emergency meeting to address the crisis.

Rescue workers and medics work by victims in a Paris restaurant, Nov. 13, 2015.

Rescue workers and medics work by victims in a Paris restaurant, Nov. 13, 2015.

Further details about the attacks were not immediately available.

The White House said President Barack Obama was briefed on the developing sitation in Paris. British Prime Minister David Cameron commented on the attack on Twitter.

The attacks come weeks before global leaders gather in Paris for talks on a U.N.-sponsored conference on climate change issues.

Last month, French Directorate for External Security Director Bernard Bajolet said at a forum that there are types of attacks that are difficult to detect.

"Things have changed since 9/11. For instance, during the last month we have disrupted a certain number of attacks on our territory by our own means or thanks to the cooperation we have with CIA, NSA and so on. But this doesn’t mean that we will be able all the time to disrupt such attacks because of what I was saying,” he said.

VOA White House Correspondent Aru Pande, National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin, Lisa Bryant from Paris, and Jamie Dettmer contributed to this report.

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