Friday the 13th bloodier than expected as hundreds of lives lost

By @vitthernandez on
Friday the 13th Movie
James Forder poses as Jason, from Friday the 13th, outside the MCM Comic Con at the Excel Centre in East London, October 25, 2014. Reuters/Andrew Winning

All eyes were on space debris WT1190F that fell into Earth on Friday the 13th which appear to be uneventful since most of the junk burned before it entered the planet’s atmosphere.

However, the day linked with superstitious beliefs and considered being unlucky actually turned out to be very bloody with five separate incidents within 24 hours that rocked the world and caused the loss of several hundreds of lives. The incidents led to calls on social media for prayers for victims of these events as well as action by governments to stop the further spread of terrorism by the Islamic State (IS).

Pray for Paris A man holds the sign of a peace symbol with the Eiffel Tower at its centre during an inter-faith vigil for the victims of the Paris attacks in London, Britain November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls  Reuters/Peter Nicholls

In the Paris terror attacks, there were at least 129 people who died during six separate but coordinated attacks on Friday night planned by the IS. Their victims were mostly concertgoers and football fans as well as students, teacher, journalists, architects, lawyers, an athlete and a musician.

The athlete who died was Lassana Diarra, a French midfielder who was taking part in the friendly match between Germany and France at Stade de France where French President Francois Hollande was among the audience. At the Bataclan theater, one of the fatalities was identified as 26-year-old Valentin Ribet, a Parisian lawyer who worked at Hogan Lovells, reports CNN.

Two other Bataclan victims have been identified as Lola Salines, an employee of La Boucherie de Paris, a roller derby team. The other one is 28-year-old Venice resident Valeria Solesin who was studying at the French capital.  

While French officials believe up to 20 plotters are behind the Paris attacks, now known as the French 9/11, at least eight assailants from three death squads likely had direct involvements in the assault. One of them, a French national who was born in Belgium, Salah Abdeslam, is now the subject of an international manhunt.

Beirut Twin Bombings A man walks near a blood stain in a damaged area caused by two explosions in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon November 12, 2015.  Reuters/Hasan Shaaban

In Lebanon, security forces gave arrested nine people, mostly Syrians, who were behind the twin bombings in Beirut that killed 44 people, reports ABC. Like the Paris attacks, the IS claimed responsibility for the bombings in a busy residential and commercial area. Lebanese Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnuq says the seven detained suspects are made up of five Syrians and two Lebanese, who smuggled the Syrians across the border.

In the case of the suicide bombing at a Baghdad funeral, no one has claimed responsibility for the death of 18 people, although ultra-hardline Sunni militants of the IS who control big parts of the northern and western part of Iraq are notorious for planting bombs in the area. The funeral was for a member of the Hadshid Shaabi a government umbrella group made up mostly of Shi-ite fighters, Reuters reports.

Fortunately, even if the magnitude 7 earthquake rocked Japan on the same day, there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, according to Associated Press. The tremor struck at 5:51 am of Nov 14, but it was still Friday the 13th in other parts of the world.

Lastly, another temblor struck on the same day, hitting Baja California in Mexico which measured 4.3 magnitude, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There were no reports also of injuries or damage.

Significantly, among the five Friday the 13th incidents, it was the man-made events that took lives, not the natural phenomena. While 13 is considered an unlucky number – notice no building has 13th floor on its elevator buttons – no statistical data support the superstition that Friday the 13th is unlucky.

“There is no reason to believe that any number would be unlucky,” says Igor Radun of the Human Factors and Safety Behavior Group at the University of Helsinki’s Institute of Behavioural Sciences in Finland, quotes Live Science. Unless, the events are created by men who chose to sow terror on certain dates.

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