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French gendarmes testify before Paris attacks trial By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Near the Comptoir Voltaire, a bar and restaurant that was previously known as Comptoir Voltaire, a commemorative plaque is displayed in memory of the Paris attackers. This photo was taken on September 1, 2020. Twenty defendants will stand the trial of Paris’ November 2015 a

By Elizabeth Pineau

PARIS (Reuters) – Six years after a group of Islamist bombers and gunmen attacked Paris, gendarmes who were on duty that night told a court on Tuesday that they were still haunted by the sound of explosions, images of human flesh and the smell of blood.

On Nov. 13th 2015, three suicide bombers attacked the Stade de France. This was where France’s national soccer team was playing Germany. Other Islamic State militants also struck restaurants, bars and concert halls in the city.

130 people were murdered by the terrorists.

Philippe was 33-years old and had served in the police force on the night. He told the prosecution of the main suspect that he heard an explosion behind him and then turned to see smoke and a leg naked.

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First, I wondered “but what the hell is that display mannequin doing?” “First I thought, ‘but what on earth is this display mannequin doing there?'” He said that he can still clearly see the leg in his right eye. This was one of several first testimony of survivors and witnesses in a three-month trial.

He claimed that he, along with other officers at the stadium who were on duty in extraordinary circumstances were prepared for the situation but the horrors of that night went beyond what any training program could teach.

He said, “That night was so memorable, that it is why it stays with me every day. We were there at the blast, and first we had to absorb and understand the situation and then improvise before our reflexes kick in again.”

It is still a haunting memory that I was the one in charge of that incident. We tried our best,” he sobbed.

Renaud had also returned to duty the night before, having taken a paternity break. Renaud, a second officer, said that “it isn’t over” and that he doesn’t know when it will end.

Pierre now retired from the police force said that he spent one month in a mental hospital, and was still being treated.

He told the court that he was shaking from the explosion and saw the human trunk being cut into two. “When I returned home my clothes and shoes were stained with blood.”

While he was reliving the attacks, he stated that he had trouble sleeping and eating.

The terrorists did not only target the wounded and victims but also the innocent. This attack has caused serious harm to my family, including my children and wife. That is why the court must consider it,” he stated.

According to a court order, the officers’ names weren’t revealed.

The questioning of the suspects will commence in November. However, they won’t be allowed to testify until March about the night of attacks.

According to prosecutors, Salah Abdullah (31), was the last remaining member of the Islamic State cells that committed the terrorist attacks.

13 others will also be present in courtroom, including 10 who are currently in custody. They face charges ranging from helping the attackers to obtain weapons and cars, or planning or participating in the attack.

Six other people, mostly Islamic State officials and others, will face abstentia charges for their involvement in the attack’s organization.