Congressional leaders said Friday night that it still wasn’t clear which terrorist group was responsible for coordinated terror attacks that killed more than 150 people.
Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula was behind the January attacks in the city on Charlie Hebdo magazine and a grocery store. The terror group talked about their operation in the summer issue of Inspire magazine and threatened new attacks on France, “the party of Satan.”
“It is France that has shared all of America’s crimes. It is France that has committed crimes in Mali and the Islamic Maghreb. It is France that supports the annihilation of Muslims in Central Africa in the name of race cleansing,” said the magazine. “They are the party of Satan, the enemies of Allah the Almighty and the enemies of His Prophets – peace be upon them.”
No group has claimed responsibility yet and intelligence officials were still trying to piece together the events. The attacks at seven sites included a mix of methods: gunmen, suicide bombers and drive-by shooters.
One of the gunmen, at the Bataclan concert venue, reportedly shouted in French that they were conducting the attack because of what was happening in Syria.
It could also be another terror affiliate that has a big beef with France: al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Five terrorists were reportedly “neutralized,” possibly leaving several at large.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said “we do not yet know what specific group is responsible, but their strategy of attacking soft targets, spreading terror and uncertainty, and using the fear they create to further radicalize and recruit is one we will have to get much better at confronting.”
“The horrific massacres in Paris confirm an array of warnings from our Intelligence Community that the West is at an extremely high terror threat level,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said. “These threats will not diminish once the Paris attacks end. While we don’t have all the details on the attackers, it’s clear we must support our French allies and remain vigilant—for years to come—against barbaric terrorists who are waging war against civilization.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) called the evening “another tragic reminder that the people of France stand on the front lines in the fight against a dangerous and growing jihadist ideology that knows no bounds.”
Secretary of State John Kerry issued a general statement expressing “outrage and sadness” over the terrorist attacks.
“These are heinous, evil, vile acts. Those of us who can must do everything in our power to fight back against what can only be considered an assault on our common humanity,” Kerry said.
“Our embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of American citizens in the city, and in the days ahead we stand ready to provide whatever support the French government may require. France is our oldest ally, a friend and a vital partner. We stand with the French people tonight, as our peoples have always stood together in our darkest hours. These terrorist attacks will only deepen our shared resolve.”
The U.S. Embassy in Paris advised citizens and diplomatic staff to shelter in place Friday night. “U.S. citizens should heed local authorities and maintain security awareness. France has declared a state of emergency which includes mobilization of security forces and closing its borders,” the embassy said. “People in France who are safe should be contacting family members. Anyone with travel plans should be contacting their airlines directly.”