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Questions linger days after terror attacks kill nearly 130 in Paris; NFL stadiums take extra precautions as a result
By Steve Bittenbender
As the weekend ended, many questions remained unanswered regarding the terrorist attacks that devastated Paris on Friday. The death toll, as of Sunday afternoon (Eastern time), from the attacks on restaurants, a theatre and France’s national stadium rose to 129, with 352 more injured. The number of fatalities is expected to rise, as French officials told reporters about 100 of the reported injured remained in serious condition.
In the wake of the shootings and bombings, France announced a three-day period of mourning across the country. While the public transit system operated normally, many museums, retail stores and other attractions remained closed. Law enforcement also enacted tighter control over train stations and airports.
Extremists from Islamic State, or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attacks. Seven attackers were found dead, however there were reports that an eighth attacker may have escaped. Leaders around the world condemned ISIS, which is sometimes referred to as Daesh, a word that’s similar in pronunciation to the organization’s Arabic acronym. In Arabic, Daesh is defined a group of bigots seeking to impose their will on others.
“The events in Paris underscore the threat that Daesh poses to all of us – in the region and well beyond it, unfortunately,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Vienna Saturday. “This is a major reason that President Obama has announced new steps to take on Daesh on militarily.”
Kerry was in Austria meeting with world leaders to discuss the ongoing conflict in Syria.
“But we also know that Daesh cannot be defeated in the end without de-escalating the underlying conflict in Syria, which attracts fighters to this battlefield. And that will require a political process, and that’s why we are here in Vienna yet again,” the secretary added.
Most of the individuals responsible for carrying out the attack have yet to be named. However, one gunman was identified as 29-year-old Ismael Omar Mostefai, a French native whose family came from Algeria.
In the United States, the National Football League released a statement saying its teams would increase security at the games held Sunday and Monday. That increased presence would not only happen inside stadiums but also in parking lots where many fans congregate before and after games.
That extra law enforcement presence came after terrorists tried to enter the Stade de France. The 81,338-seat stadium located in a northern Paris suburb was hosting a soccer friendly, or exhibition, between the German and French national teams. Bomb blasts could be heard during the game’s telecast. While the game, which was attended by French President Francois Hollande, continued to its conclusion, fans poured onto the field afterward after officials held them at the arena until it could be determined the area was safe.
Media reports indicated that a suicide bomber tried to make his way into the stadium but was stopped during a check at an entrance. The bomber allegedly detonated his bomb vest as he tried to elude police.
“All NFL clubs use mandatory metal detector screening and multiple layers of perimeter security external to the stadium to safeguard fans and the stadium from explosive threats,” the league said in a statement. “Following the events in Paris on Friday, we are closely monitoring events and have been in communication with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, which have informed us that there are no known threats against NFL stadiums.”