For the third time in 11 months, Paris was ripped apart by gunfire and bloodshed, and the city was held in the grips of terror.
Friday's attacks — explosions near a soccer stadium, Stade de France, a shooting at a restaurant and scores slain at a concert hall where an American band was playing — killed 129 people and another 352 wounded. French President Francois Hollande vowed a "merciless" response, as ISIS claimed responsibility for the worst violence in France since World War II.
"We will work alongside our allies to fight this terrorist menace," Hollande said. "France is strong and even if she is wounded she will get up always and nothing will hold her down, even if we are feeling the grief now."
The carnage came at the end of a year that began with terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and later at a kosher grocery store. Over those three bloody days in January, 17 people were killed.
On Jan. 7, masked gunmen armed with AK-47s and shouting “Allahu Akbar” stormed the magazine’s offices, leaving 12 people dead, including the paper’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb. Charbonnier was on an al Qaeda hit list.
The assailants, two French-born brothers of Algerian descent, Cherif, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, were killed three days later at a printing plant where they were holding a hostage.
The younger brother had been sentenced to prison in 2008 for helping to funnel fighters to Iraq. The older of the brothers had traveled to Yemen and gotten training from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. counterterrorism officials told NBC News.
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Meanwhile an associate, Amedy Coulibaly, who was also born in France, booby-trapped a kosher supermarket and killed four of his hostages. He was demanding the release of the Kouachi brothers before being killed.
President Francois Hollande called that week’s violence the worst terrorism in France since the Algerian War from 1954 until 1962 and denounced the attack on the store for its anti-Semitism.
The magazine was known for its religious barbs; for example, it published the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that sparked riots in the Middle East in 2005. Its offices were firebombed in 2011.
An attempted attack on an Amsterdam-to-Paris train was foiled in August, when a gunman was overpowered by a group of passengers that included three Americans. The suspect, Ayoub El Khazzani, opened fire in a carriage of the train, according to French officials. They said the Moroccan man might have links to radical Islam, but his lawyer said he was merely trying to rob the train.