The sole survivor of the jihadist group that killed 130 people in Paris six years ago has said the attacks were “nothing personal” and were carried out in retaliation for airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
Salah Abdeslam was part of a 10-member cell, mostly French or Belgian, that coordinated a series of attacks on the French capital in 2015.
Speaking at his trial, he insisted that the civilian deaths were the result of the actions of former President François Hollande, who had authorized the attacks against Isis.
“We fought France, we attacked France, we targeted the civilian population – but it was nothing personal against them,” he said.
“François Hollande knew the risk he was taking in attacking Islamic State in Syria,” Abdeslam said.
On the evening of 12 November 2015, a series of attacks occurred within minutes of each other on Paris and the neighboring suburb of Saint-Denis, killing 130 people and injuring over 350.
After failing to gain entry into the stands, three suicide bombers targeted fans outside the Stade de France during the first football match.
The attackers then opened fire on people in crowded cafes and restaurants in Paris, one of whom also detonated a suicide bomb.
Another group of men also opened fire at a concert at Batakalan Theatre, leading to a standoff with the police.
Abdeslam is accused of driving the attackers into the national stadium at night and planning to carry out his attack that night.
It is believed that he either retracted or his vest was damaged, and it was later found in a dustbin by the police.
He is accused of hiding south of Paris after the attacks, then fled to his home city of Brussels, where he was arrested four months later.
Days after his arrest in March 2016, Brussels was hit by a series of bombings on its metro network and airport, which killed 32 civilians and three criminals and injured more than 300 people.
The attackers are believed to be part of the same jihadist cell that targeted Paris.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /