PARIS—The key defendant in the 2015 Paris attacks trial said on Wednesday that the coordinated killings were in retaliation for French airstrikes on the ISIS terrorist group, describing the deaths of 130 innocent people as “nothing personal” as they first played their role. was accepted.
Salah Abdeslam, who dressed completely in black and refused to remove his mask while speaking in a custom-made courtroom, remained silent throughout the investigation. Supervisors waited to see if he would offer any details during the test.
On November 13, 2015, nine ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers attacked each other at several locations in Paris, targeting fans of the national football stadium and cafe-goers, and ending with bloodshed at the Bataclan concert hall. It was the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II and one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the West, shattering the country’s sense of security and rewriting its politics.
Abdeslam is the sole survivor of the cell, most of whose members were French or Belgian. After his suicide vest was damaged on the night of the attacks, he fled to his hometown of Brussels.
On Wednesday, a screen in the courtroom showed a picture of Abdeslam, a car abandoned in northern Paris after he shot down three suicide bombers in the stadium. Abdeslam’s target was unclear, but when ISIS claimed responsibility the next day, the statement pointed to an attack that had never happened in the neighborhood where he left the car.
Two men called by Abdeslam to drive him overnight from Brussels to Paris to pick him up are among 20 people facing trial. Of these, the trial is being held in the absence of six.
Abdeslam, who was arrested months after the attacks, said the killings were a reaction to French air strikes in Syria and Iraq. France was part of the international coalition, which was formed as the terrorists conquered vast territories of both countries.
“We fought France, we attacked France, we targeted the civilian population. It was nothing personal against them,” Abdeslam said. “I know my statement may be shocking, but this knife Not to dig deep into the wound, but to be honest to those who are suffering unfathomable suffering.”
George Selins, whose daughter Lola was among the 90 killed in Bataclan, refused to accept Abdeslam’s argument.
“To explain that what we wanted to target was France, not individual individuals—well, except that it was the people who were injured and killed, innocent people, voluntarily targeted. It’s moral. Absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
The same network attacked Brussels airport and the metro system in March 2016, killing 32 others. Those on trial in Paris include Mohamed Aberini, who left the city the night before the 2015 attacks and fled to Brussels. He accepted a role on Wednesday.
“I recognize my involvement … [but] In this evil that has happened in France, I am neither a general nor an architect. I neither provided any logistical nor financial help,” Abarini said.
The ghost of the man who orchestrated the attacks, the late Abdelhamid Aboud, appeared extensively in the first days of the trial.
The court saw him in a video running in the metro. An investigator testified that he was on the phone with the attackers and someone in Brussels during the attack.
Counter-terrorism investigators showed surveillance video of Aboud walking along the Paris subway with another of the gunmen. He recognized Aboud by his fluorescent orange shoes—and that was a turning point in the case.
“As soon as we watch this video, it changes everything as we learn that at least two terrorists are still alive,” testified the investigator. His name was not released publicly, as is common in French anti-terrorism trials.
Aboud and the remaining gunmen were killed a few days later in police shootings and suicide bombings.
The same investigator also testified to the devastation that officials felt the attacks had unleashed.
“The feeling we had that evening at Bataclan was one of failure. … I am not sure we had the means to stop everything. But that feeling was there when we went to Bataclan,” he said.
The trial is scheduled to last for nine months. Already, Abdeslam is bursting with comments against the group’s treatment in prison. But Wednesday’s statement came at the invitation of the presiding judge.
“This court cannot be a platform for their bigotry,” warned Mehna Mouou, the lawyer for the 70 victims. “The court cannot be a platform for their publicity. We need to be very careful with that.”
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times