Paris attacks: Witness accounts, IS's 'fake refugees', SAS 'on UK streets' - UK newspaper headlines

Large sections of Sunday's papers are dedicated to witness accounts, reaction and analysis of Friday's gun and bomb attacks on Paris.

Some of the most harrowing accounts come from those who escaped the Bataclan rock venue, where 89 people were killed. Theresa Cede describes "body parts flying all around" and being "more or less buried under a man who was shot in the head next to me".

The Sunday Express quotes her saying: "From there nobody moved. Then we heard terrorists who were shouting... 'Stay down, don't move, we'll shoot you'. But then they shot anyway. I was thinking to myself, it is going to be me next?"

Tony Scott, from Leeds, tells the Sunday Mirror he "hit the deck, kept quiet and managed to crawl to an exit amid gunfire", before getting out via a skylight. "We clambered up and made it to an apartment at roof level. There were about 30 of us. We heard gunshots and explosions. It was terrifying."

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Media captionPeople could be seen escaping from the Bataclan concert hall shortly after a series of explosions

The Sunday Telegraph hears from Christine Tudhope, who fled to the backstage area with a friend after seeing the gunmen fire at the crowd. "[We] got lost in the building and ended up in the basement, where we found a small cellar where we hid together with two Italian guys who had been behind us... There was automatic gunfire, explosions, horrific screams."

The Italians turned off the light and locked the cellar door, she explains, adding: "We sat there, holding hands for the next three hours, wondering if we would get out alive."

Journalist Daniel Psenny went to the balcony of his flat when he heard a commotion in the street. He's quoted by the Sunday Times describing "people on the ground covered in blood", others scrambling to get away, some dragging bodies and leaving bloody streaks in the street. He rushed out to help, and was pulling an injured man to safety when he "felt as though a firework exploded in my left arm".

He believes he was hit by a shot fired from a balcony, while the man he pulled into his hallway was an American with a bullet in his leg. "He was vomiting, he was cold, we thought he was going to die."

Several papers report the death of Briton Nick Alexander, who'd been selling merchandise for Eagles of Death Metal, the band appearing at the Bataclan, when he was shot. Ian Birrell, a journalist who founded the Africa Express music collaboration with Blur frontman Damon Albarn, reveals in the Mail on Sunday that Mr Alexander had sold merchandise on the project's tour celebrating London's 2012 Olympics.

Birrell writes: "Nick threw himself into the venture with a big smile on his face," adding that musicians would remark about chatting to the "lovely merch man". The writer adds: "This is the second time I have lost someone in my world to Islamist terrorists; the last being in the 2005 London bombings... For the sake of Nick and all the other victims, we must not lose our humanity in fighting back."


Fear, pragmatism, determination

In the Observer, Florence Hartman contrasts Parisians' response to the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, when thousands spontaneously assembled in the Place de la Republique to hold up placards reading "not afraid", with the reaction on Friday. "Paris has discovered something it did not taste 10 months ago, a feeling that belongs to war zones: that violent death could come to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

"In Montmartre, which is some distance from the carnage, restaurant-goers preferred to stay put and sleep on a floor... Those who did decide to head home were often not charged by their drivers, who were careful to avoid red traffic lights for fear of becoming an easy target if they stopped their vehicles."

Still, as Cole Moreton points out in the Independent on Sunday, "something remarkable was happening on social media" with residents using the "#porteouvert" Twitter hashtag to offer a bed or sofa to those stranded as the city's Metro system closed. One woman told the paper: "I posted a message on Facebook asking for help and many people texted me. We stayed with a family for the night who were very kind."

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"Told to look their doors, Parisians instead opened them to the refugees of terror," writes Harry de Quetteville in the Sunday Telegraph. The reaction of those in the Stade de France, targeted by suicide bombers, was to sing the French national anthem, he says: "Where the bombers had hoped to sow division and carnage, there was only unity and contemplation. And spirit unyielding.

"So it was inevitable that where the bombers had gone to spill blood, Parisians queued to give blood. Theirs was a spirit of pragmatism, to provide for injured victims, but also one of idealism - a determination to give even of themselves, to share with others, citoyen to citoyen, the lifeblood of a nation."

Author Patrick Bishop describes in the Sunday Times encountering a French version of Blitz spirit during his Saturday morning trip to buy bread in his neighbourhood. "It was soon clear that the heart of the quartier had scarcely missed a beat. Some shops were late to open. Maybe one in five or six stayed closed and the celebrated covered food market was ordered shut by the city authorities. The prevailing attitude, though, seemed to be a stubborn determination to stick to routine."

However, the Mail on Sunday's Angella Johnson found the streets of Saint Denis, a working class suburb home to a large Muslim population, "all but empty". One Muslim taxi driver was so fearful of fallout from the attacks that he told his wife and two teenage daughters to stay at home, she says. "This terrible series of slaughter has changed the situation for all our people," he tells her.

A mother-of-four, of north African origin is quoted saying: "I cannot imagine what the parents of those young people who were victims must be going through... I've never felt so ashamed of what has been done in the name of my religion."


What the commentators say

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Media captionFrench-Algerian journalist Nabila Ramdani, Robert Fox, of London's Evening Standard, and Leela Jacinto, of France 24 TV, review the papers for the BBC News Channel.

'Gone global'

With the Islamic State (known as IS, Isis or Isil) extremist group having claimed responsibility for the attacks, Jason Burke writes in the Observer that the organisation has "gone global".

"Its attacks are not random or indiscriminate. They have three aims: to terrorise, mobilise and polarise. Prompting widespread and irrational fear - terror - in target populations means Isis may force leaders to make decision that they would not otherwise have made - such as stopping a bombing campaign in Syria, for example."

The Sunday Telegraph's David Blair points out that IS has carried out "three complex and ambitious acts of murder" in three countries - downing a Russian plane Egypt, suicide bombing Beirut, in Lebanon, and now attacking Paris - in less than a fortnight.

"There is simply no precedent in the modern history of terrorism for the rapid succession of havoc that Isil appears to have wrought," he says. "What makes Isil's onslaught unique is how different the three operations were - and how each demanded a particular set of skills."

Writing in the Independent on Sunday, Patrick Cockburn says IS is getting "more sophisticated". He says: "Recruiting, arming, coordinating and keeping hidden the Paris killers until the last moment implies good organisation. The same was true of the smuggling of a bomb on to the Russian plane before it left the ground at Sharm al-Sheikh on 30 October."

While Cockburn says the group is ensuring maximum media coverage by killing civilians in "soft targets", it says it's being forced to act internationally because it's being driven back in its heartland. "In the past, it would deal with its numerous but disunited enemies one after the other, but now it is facing attacks on a number of fronts at the same time."


UK response

The question of what this all means for the UK is addressed in several papers. The Mail on Sunday reports that two of the suicide bombers are "thought to have sneaked into France by posing as refugees from Syria". It continues: "The disclosure... inevitably raised new security concerns about Europe's borders." The paper reminds readers of its "prophetic" report from May, headlined: "Med boats' secret cargo: jihadis bound for Britain."

However, Nick Loles from campaign group Hope not Hate writes in the Mirror: "The news that one of the killers appears to have come to Europe as a refugee is likely to be used as a reason to close the borders. But let us not forget that the vast majority of those fleeing Syria and Iraq are fleeing IS."

A passport found by the body of one of the bombers was registered on the Greek island of Leros in October, says the Sunday Times, quoting reports that the second had entered the same way. "Intelligence chiefs fear more terrorists could have infiltrated western Europe using the same route," it says.

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The Sunday Express says the UK has responded by putting special forces onto the streets. "More than 60 soldiers, including personnel from the SAS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), were last night operating under the direction of [London's Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorist Command] wing.

"An unarmed unit of soldiers has been deployed to infiltrate key 'areas of interest' known to contain jihadi sympathisers. Another tranche, armed with nuclear, biological and chemical equipment, will be at a military base 'within striking distance' of London, on call to respond to a major terror attack." The result, according to the Mirror, is that jihadists are being monitored "by more agents than have operated in this country since the Second World War".

As the Daily Star Sunday reminds readers: "The last time the SAS were moved to London was when the 7/7 attacks led to the death of 52 people in the largest single terror attack to blight Britain." According to the Sunday Telegraph, they will be contending with up to 450 radicalised Britons who have returned from Syria. The SRR and extra police were patrolling London's West End and social hubs on Saturday night, it says, quoting a source saying: "They will be wandering around shopping centres, stations and other potential targets watching what's going on."

Meanwhile, the Sunday People says both Conservative and Labour MPs have "piled on the pressure" for Britain to join military air strikes against IS in Syria. The Mirror gives space to former Army officer Col Hamish de Breton-Gordon to argue in favour of action, saying: "Britain can no longer dabble in this war." However, ex-Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott offers a counter-argument, saying: "One thing I've learnt is that this western intervention never helps, it only makes matters worse. So much worse."

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn tells the Independent on Sunday that Labour wouldn't back such a move and that the priority should be on humanitarian assistance and a peace process. Difficult choices lie ahead, but whatever MPs decide, argues the People, "it will certainly mean sitting down with people we don't want to". It adds: "Whatever the course of action, it must be decisive and proportionate but swift."

In the Observer's view: "The US, Russia, Britain, France, the leading Arab states and Iran, too, all now have an ever more obvious, shared interest in ending an incredibly destructive conflict that threatens us all. They must act together - and so prove, conclusively, that France, at this time of terrible anguish, is not alone."


Observer: A discarded parking ticket in a car near the Bataclan leads detectives to Brussels

Mail: KATIE HOPKINS: Is Britain just going to sit and wait for its own day of reckoning or is it going to remember what we value and start fighting to save it?

Independent: The wrong response would create thousands of new Isis recruits

Telegraph: Felix Marquardt: Terrorists are defining Islam. We Muslims must react

Mirror: Paris terror attacks: How to change your Facebook profile picture to French flag to show solidarity with victims