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France declares emergency as dozens die in wave of Paris attacks

Police officers gather outside the Bataclan concert venue in Paris, France, 13 Nov 2015, where a gunman has reportedly taken people hostage.

[PARIS] Paris declared an emergency after a wave of deadly attacks late Friday in the French capital left dozens of people dead and dozens more reportedly held hostage at a rock concert.

President Francois Hollande, in a nationwide address, said the country has closed its borders and imposed a state of alert. French police asked people to stay indoors. Multiple shootings and bomb attacks in various parts of the capital left as many as 60 people dead, according to BFM television, though other news agencies cited a lower figure.

More than one blast occurred outside the Stade de France sports arena, where France was playing a soccer game against Germany. Mr Hollande was at the game and was evacuated to the Interior Ministry, AFP said.

There were also shootings outside the Bataclan theater in the 11th district of Paris, where a concert was underway, and there appeared to be hostages inside, BFM and other news services said. There were also shootings outside a restaurant in the 10th district, BFM said.

France has been on high alert for terror attacks ever since a series of killings at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in early January. The country is taking part in the US-led military campaign against Islamic State in Syria.

President Barack Obama told reporters in Washington that Paris has witnessed "an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians."

He said the US stands ready to provide any needed assistance to its French ally. UK Prime Minister David Cameron also volunteered his support.