Posts Tagged ‘since’

Germany could send troops into streets for first time since war

November 20th, 2015

20.20

The first explosion went off near the Stade de France, where president Francois Hollande was at a football match between France and Germany. One person was killed in the blast. The body of a terrorist was found at the scene wearing a suicide belt filled with shrapnel.

20.25

Shortly after the first explosion at the Stade de France, gunmen with Kalashnikovs launched an attack at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant on Rue Bichat, in the city’s 10th arrondissement, killing 15 people and injuring 10.

20.30

The attackers drove about 500 yards to the Casa Nostra pizzeria in Rue de la Fontaine au Roi and opened fire on diners on the terrace of the restaurant, killing at least five people and injuring eight.

20.30

Another explosion went off outside the Stade de France when a second suicide bomber blew himself up.

20.35

Militants launch an attack on La Belle Equipe in Rue de Charonne, spraying the terrace bar with bullets and killing 19 people in gunfire which witnesses say lasted “two, three minutes”.

20.50

Three black-clad gunmen wielding AK-47s and wearing suicide vests stormed Le Bataclan during a concert by American rock band Eagles Of Death Metal. At least 89 were killed and more than 100 others injured during the shooting. The attackers were heard mentioning Syria and Iraq during the massacre.

20.53

A third suicide bomber blew himself up on Rue de la Coquerie, near the Stade de France.

21.00

The first reports came in of the Bataclan massacre and within 10 minutes there was confirmation that a hostage crisis had developed at the theatre.

21.57

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter: “I am shocked by events in Paris tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help.”

22.00

An emotional French president Francois Hollande, who was earlier evacuated from the Stade de France, closed the borders and declared a state of national emergency. The French military were called into the centre of Paris.

22.16

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the people of Paris tonight. We stand in solidarity with the French. Such acts are heinous and immoral.”

22.28

French emergency services activate Plan Rouge to tackle the large numbers of casualties.

22.30

Parisians used the #PorteOuverte hashtag to search for or offer safe places for those fleeing the violence. The hashtag was soon trending.

22.43

A new toll of at least 35 dead.

22.46

President Obama delivered a speech at the White House, expressing solidarity with the people of Paris and calling the attacks terrorist acts. “Those who think that they can terrorise the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong.”We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberte, egalite, fraternite, are not just the values French people share, but we share.”Those go far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening.”

23.30

Reports emerge of French taxi drivers turning off their meters and offering passengers free rides home. A citywide curfew was put in place, the first since 1944.

23.30

Police storm the Bataclan, ending the siege. Two terrorists die after activating their suicide vests and a third is shot dead by officers.

Midnight

The death toll reached at least 120.

Saturday, November 14

00.46

At least 1,500 soldiers have been called upon to patrol the streets of Paris.

03.30

Schools, markets, museums and major tourist sites in the Paris area are closed and sporting fixtures cancelled.

09.50

Hollande calls the attacks “an act of war… committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State, against France, against… what we are, a free country”. He declares three days of national mourning.

09.50

Isil claimed responsibility, saying in a statement issued in Arabic and French that the attackers had targeted “the capital of abominations and perversions and those who carry the crusader banner in Europe”.

10.30

Gatwick Airport north terminal was evacuated after a suspected firearm was discovered. A 41-year-old French national was taken into custody for questioning. He was later charged with possession of an air rifle and a knife.

11.00

David Cameron warned the UK “must be prepared for a number of British casualties”, and condemned the “brutal and callous murderers. The Queen also sent a message of condolence to Mr Hollande, saying she and the Duke of Edinburgh had been “deeply shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life in Paris”.

12.00

By noon on Saturday French officials had put the provisional death toll at 127 people from the combined attacks, with 180 injured and 99 people in hospital in critical condition.

13.30

One of the bombers was identified by his fingerprints as a young Frenchman flagged for links with Islamic extremism. He is later named as Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, 29.

17.00

A number of people are arrested in Brussels in relation to the Paris attack. Belgian prosecutors later confirmed they have opened an anti-terrorist investigation based on a car that was hired in Belgium and was found near the Bataclan concert hall.

18.00

One Briton is confirmed to have died and “a handful” of others are feared to have been killed. The British victim was later named as Nick Alexander, who was selling band merchandise at the Bataclan.

18.23

Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor, said 129 people were confirmed dead and 352 people were injured, with 99 in a critical condition.

Sunday, November 15

10.30

Home Secretary Theresa May indicated the British death toll in the Paris attacks may rise as she said the government has concerns about a “handful” of UK citizens. She said that British police and intelligence agencies were “working day and night to keep people secure”.


World War Two

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Battle of Britain flypast commemorates 75 years since the ‘Hardest Day’

August 18th, 2015

The ‘Hardest Day’ recalls when, on 18 August 1940, Biggin Hill in Bromley came under attack from the Luftwaffe, and post-war studies have shown this was the hardest-fought day in the history of the air war over Britain.

On this day, both sides recorded their greatest losses in battle. Germany flew 850 sorties involving 2200 aircrew, and the RAF sent out 927 sorties in return.

The RAF lost altogether 68 aircraft – 31 in air combat. 69 German planes were destroyed.

Wartime reinactors attend the Commemoration of The Hardest Day at London Biggin Hill Airport Picture: Alamy

At Biggin Hill, World War Two re-enactors and veterans of the Battle of Britain assembled with many who came to watch the skies.

• Battle of Britain: the spitfire, envy of the enemy
The 20 greatest battles in British history

Veteran Tony Pickering said that he would like to fly again, saying “I’d be up there with them”.

He was one of 3,000 people – known as The Few – to fly in the Battle of Britain to keep control of the skies against the Germans.

Battle of Britain veteran, Squadron Leader Tony Pickering from Rugby, who fought alongside fellow WWII RAF airmen known as The Few Picture: PA

Air raid sirens went off as the 24 aircraft took off to make their three routes, which follow the journeys made by three pilots 75 years ago to Portsmouth, Dover and RAF Kenley.

World War II Spitfires take to the skies over Biggin Hill Picture: PA

This flight was named after Wing Commander Douglas Grice, who was awarded a medal for destroying so many German planes and was shot down three times during the six weeks’ fighting.

• Battle of Britain pilot: ‘You were always outnumbered’
‘I enjoyed the Battle of Britain’ – The Few gather for 75th anniversary

An Airbus A380 passes overhead as World War II Spitfires and Hurricanes take to the skies over Kent Picture: PA


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Paris to celebrate 70 years since liberation from Nazi occupation, with little contribution from US or UK

August 24th, 2014

The exception was a parade on Saturday by French and American forces to mark the entry into the capital of the French 2nd Armoured Division and the 4th US Infantry Division.

There was little mention of the deportation to the Buchenwald concentration camp of more than 2,500 “political prisoners” from a suburb of the capital on the day the uprising began, and even less of the arrests of nine Jews by Paris police only four days earlier.

“The French government has made the Liberation of Paris a purely French celebration,” two young French commentators, Fabrice d’Almeida and Sophie Roche, wrote in the Huffington Post.

Gen. Charles De Gaulle (AP Photo/Constance Stuart Larrabee)

De Gaulle used the liberation of the capital as a way for France to begin recovering from the dishonour of its surrender in 1940 and the years of collaboration.

In his victory speech, he said: “Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the support of the armies of France, with the help and support of the whole of France, of the France that fights, of the only France, of the true France, of the eternal France!”

The historian Jean-Pierre Azéma noted de Gaulle accorded “only perfunctory thanks to the soldiers of the 4th US Infantry Division who accompanied the (French) 2nd Armoured Division.”

A tank from the French Armored Division passes the Arc de Triomphe during the final hours of the struggle to liberate Paris from German occupation (AP)

The novelist Ernest Hemingway, who entered Paris in uniform as a war correspondent with American forces, gave a rather different version, reporting that thousands of Parisians lined the streets to welcome them, shouting “Vive l’Amérique, Vive la France” and waving American flags.

Hemingway created his own legend of liberation by taking command of the bar at the Ritz hotel, requisitioned by the Nazis in 1940.

“Where are the Germans?” he reportedly demanded when he arrived at the hotel with a group of Resistance fighters. “I have come to liberate the Ritz.”

The manager, Claude Auzello, replied: “Monsieur, they left a long time ago and I cannot let you enter with a weapon.” Hemingway duly put down his gun and is said to run up a tab for 51 dry Martinis in the company of his “irregulars”.

French poet, journalist, and a member of the French Resistance Madeleine Riffaud (AP)

Three weeks earlier, Madeleine Riffaud, a Resistance fighter who was not yet 20, encouraged Parisians to rise up by shooting dead a German officer on a Paris bridge on a a Sunday afternoon.

“Everyone saw that a young girl on a bicycle can do this,” she told the Associated Press.

Fred Moore, the son of a former Royal Navy officer who was born and brought up in Amiens, northern France, said he was welcomed with warm embraces by the women of Paris when he entered the city as a French soldier on August 25.

“One of them later became my wife,” said Mr Moore, 94.


World War Two

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