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Pray for Paris

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France was rocked by multiple, near simultaneous attacks on entertainment sites around Paris on Friday evening and French media said at least 60 people were killed and hostages were being held in a concert hall in the capital.

The apparently coordinated gun and bomb attacks came as the country, a founder member of the U.S.-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, was on high alert for terrorist attacks ahead of a global climate conference that opens later this month.

Western security sources said they suspected an Islamist militant group was behind the carnage.

At least two explosions were heard near the Stade de France national stadium where a France-Germany friendly football match was being played, attended by President Francois Hollande.

The match continued until the end but panic broke out in the crowd as rumours of the attack spread, and spectators were held in the stadium and assembled spontaneously on the pitch.

There were reports of possibly as many as four shootings in central Paris, one of which turned into a hostage taking at a popular rock music venue, witnesses said.

TF1 television said up to 35 people were dead near the football stadium, including two suspected suicide bombers in the attack in the neighbourhood of Saint Denis, north of central Paris.

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Police helicopters circled the stadium as Hollande was rushed back to the interior ministry to deal with the situation. The president's office said he had called an emergency cabinet meeting for 2300 GMT to manage the crisis.

Police confirmed there had been shootings and explosions at the stadium, but not the number of casualties.

In central Paris, shooting erupted in mid-evening outside a Cambodian restaurant in the capital's 10th district and the Bataclan music hall, where bystanders were evacuated as elite police commandos took up position.

Several witnesses told television stations that up to 60 hostages were being held inside the popular concert venue.

"There are lots of people here. I don’t know what’s happening, a sobbing witness who gave her name only as Anna told BFM TV outside the Bataclan hall. "It’s horrible. There’s a body over there. It’s horrible."

Elsewhere, police cordoned off a wide area around the Petit Cambodge restaurant where witnesses said gunmen armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles had fired at diners through the plate-glass windows, causing multiple casualties.

"I was on my way to my sister's when I heard shots being fired. Then I saw three people dead on the ground, I know they were dead because they were being wrapped up in plastic bags," student Fabien Baron told Reuters.

There were also reports of shootings in rue de Charonne in the 11th district and at the central Les Halles shopping centre.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Paris attacks, which came within days of attacks claimed by Islamic State militants on a Shi'ite Muslim district of southern Beirut in Lebanon, and a Russian tourist aircraft which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Earlier on Friday, the United States and Britain said they had launched an attack in the Syrian town of Rakka on a British Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" but it was not certain whether he had been killed.

(Reporting by Paris Newsroom; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by James Dalgleish)
Heavenly Father, may You comfort the people who lost loved ones in this senseless attack. May You calm and comfort those who were witnesses to this tragedy. May You reveal Yourself and protect Paris and other countries from further terrorist attacks. Reveal the Salvation of Your Son Jesus to all those who need salvation. Reveal Your truth to those who seek to destroy and harm others. Bind them and deliver them from their evil ways, In Jesus Name, Amen
I pray that the enemy would be limited in his destruction and the the hearts of those who are fearful might be comforted by the Lord.
Our hearts of course go out to the victims. But they are victims in more ways than one... they are victims of a secular and godless culture that is nurturing them in evil that they do not understand.

I did a wee bit of research. The heavy metal rock group playing at the Bataclan called themselves 'Eagles of Death Metal,' a portentous name. The members of the band, when they first heard gunshots, reportedly fled backstage, leaving their fans alone to face death at the hands of Jihadists. Eyewitnesses heard attackers crying "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "Allah is great."

These Eagles of Death Metal produce obscene videos, and mock the things of the Bible, as so many rock groups do. For example, they have a song "Speaking in Tongues" with a video incorporating sadistic images, and I couldn't finish watching it. It was horrible.

So then, how does our Holy Lord God feel watching these things? I will let the reader judge. But I know Christians who feel that these Jihadists are God's judgment upon a godless world that has turned its back upon Him. So our prayers need really to be wider: not only for protections from these madmen, but also that God would have mercy upon a lost generation, and bring forth His gospel again, and that as the Ninevites repented, so might they.