The attacks started with suicide bombings outside the Stade de France, a football stadium in the outskirts of Paris where an international friendly between Germany and France took place Friday night. French President François Hollande was present at the football event and was evacuated immediately when it became clear what had happened, whereas the match continued.
Nearly simultaneously shootings and explosions took place at five other locations in the centre of Paris, 129 people were killed and some 350 people injured.
After François Hollande called the attacks “an act of war”, German Federal President Joachim Gauck also used this term . “We live in times when we are mourning victims of a new type of war,” Gauck said in a speech held at the German Bundestag in commemoration of Germany’s National Day of Mourning this Sunday, referring to the attacks in Paris.
ISIS has revealed that the recent terror attacks where a retaliation for the air strikes conducted by the French military in Syria. Germany has not taken part in military action in the ISIS-controlled region, but has been supplying Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq with weapons for over a year now. Ursula von der Leyen, German Minister of Defence, described this support as successful, saying in a TV interview on Saturday that the German government will consistently maintain its engagement in the region.
However, as the football match between Germany and France was one of the targets on Friday, Germany is also affected by the terror. That same morning, the hotel where the German national team stayed was evacuated after a telephone bomb threat. No bombs were found and the German players could return to their hotel two hours later.
This attack “targets all of us and it has hit all of us and that is why we will also all respond together,” Merkel said in her statement Saturday. “We will do everything to help in the hunt for the perpetrators and instigators, and to carry out the fight together against these terrorists”. It remains to be seen how exactly the German government intends to respond.
“Our essential values are humanity, neighbourly love and the joy of fellowship. We believe in the right of every individual to seek happiness and to live their lives, we believe in respect and tolerance. And we know that our free life is stronger than any terrorism,” Merkel said. “Germany shares your pain and your grief.”
German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière explained that the degree of threat has not changed since the attacks. “The terror threat in Germany remains high,” he said in a TV address.
De Maizière also spoke about some of the measurements that are being undertaken in order to prevent terrorist attacks in the future. While key measurements cannot be revealed due to strategic reasons, he announced better equipment of police staff and a stronger surveillance of Islamists and sympathizers.
Meanwhile, German authorities investigate a possible link between the Paris attacks and an arrest on a motorway near the Bavarian town of Rosenheim earlier this November. De Maizière stated that policemen found a considerable amount of dangerous weapons in the car of a 51-year old Montenegrin man. He had an address in Paris as destination on his navigation system. A link between the Paris attacks and a Belgian Islamist cell has already been confirmed, once again showing that close international cooperation is inevitable to prevent such attacks.