Islamic State has reportedly claimed responsibility for the wave of bombings and shootings that have left at least 127 people dead and more than 180 injured across Paris, citing France’s leadership role in airstrikes against the group in Iraq and Syria.

VIDEO: Above, French special forces converge on the Bataclan concert hall, where hostages were held during the attacks.

The Friday-night attacks in Paris were the deadliest in Europe since the 2004 railway bombings in Madrid. Eight of the attackers have been reported dead. French President Francois Hollande denounced the assault as an “act of war.”

The Guardian reports:

Isis said it had dispatched jihadis wearing suicide bomb belts and carrying machine guns around the French capital on Friday night in a coordinated series of attacks intended to show that France would remain one of its main targets as long as its present policies continued.

“France and those who follow her voice must know that they remain the main target of Islamic State and that they will continue to smell the odour of death for having led the crusade, for having dared to insult our prophet, for having boasted of fighting Islam in France and striking Muslims in the caliphate with their planes,” the group said in a statement.

Hollande described the attacks as cowardly and “an act of war” that had been carefully “prepared, organised and planned from outside the country by Islamic State, but with help from inside”. “Faced with war, the country must take appropriate action,” the president said. He did not say what form that action might take.

These were attacks “against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: a free country that means something to the whole planet,” Hollande said, calling for unity and courage and saying he would address an extraordinary meeting of parliament on Monday.

Continue reading here. Follow updates by The Guardian here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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