PARIS (CBSNEWS) — French police are hunting possible accomplices of eight assailants who terrorized Paris concert-goers, cafe diners and soccer fans in this country’s deadliest peacetime attacks, a succession of explosions and shootings that cast a dark shadow over this luminous tourist destination.
Parisians who went to sleep in horror at initial news of the attacks woke Saturday to learn that at least 127 people were killed and scores wounded. World leaders joined together in sympathy and indignation, New York police increased security measures, and people around the world reached out to friends and loved ones in France.
Speaking to his grief and shock-stricken nation Saturday morning, President Francois Hollande said the attacks were “an act of war” carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which planned the coordinated assault outside the country but worked with people in France.
ISIS also claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, calling it a “blessed invasion” of Paris.
Islamic extremists are angry at France’s military operations against ISIS and al Qaeda affiliates, who targeted satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo this year and have hit Jewish and other sites in France in the past.
CBS News contributor Mike Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA, told Scott Pelley on Friday night the attack was clearly well-coordinated.
“We’re talking about a large group of them. We’re talking about multiple simultaneous attacks, and they kept it secret; that is a very difficult thing to do,” Morell said. “It requires operational sophistication. We haven’t seen that level of sophistication since the London bombings.”
Morell noted that ISIS “has been working on a capability to conduct attacks in Western Europe” — a capability already proven by al Qaeda’s Yemen franchise, AQAP, with the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
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