Only surviving member of ISIS terror cell that slaughtered 130 in 2015 Paris atrocity tells court the attack was ‘nothing personal’
- Salah Abdeslam was one of ten jihadists involved in Paris attach which killed 130
- He is currently on trial over the attack along with 19 others accused of helping
- Abdeslam said massacre was ‘nothing personal’ and goal is ‘not to hurt anyone’
- He said France ‘knew the risks’ when it began bombing ISIS in Syria, which the attack was supposed to avenge
Salah Abdeslam today told a Paris court that 2015 attack on the city which killed 130 people was ‘nothing personal’ (file)
The sole survivor of the jihadist cell that killed 130 people in Paris six years ago has said the attack was ‘nothing personal’ as he appeared in court over the massacre.
Salah Abdeslam, one of ten jihadists who attacked bars and restaurants in the French capital in November 2015, said it was retaliation for France bombing ISIS in Syria.
Abdeslam told the court that then-president Francois Hollande ‘knew the risks’ of bombing Syria, while insisting ‘my goal is not to hurt anyone.’
His calm statements contrasted sharply with outbursts he made during the first few days of the trial that opened last week, where 19 others are also accused in the biggest trial in modern French legal history.
This was the first time in the trial Abdeslam addressed the court with the judges’ permission.
Many in the audience, including families of the dead and the roughly 350 people physically injured, cried or hugged one another as Abdeslam spoke, the day of his 32nd birthday.
Abdeslam was one of 10 jihadists who attacked bars and restaurants in Paris on November 13, 2015, leaving dozens dead – most of them inside the Bataclan Theatre (pictured)
He insisted that he and his co-accused were not ‘terrorists, jihadists, extremists’ but ‘Muslims’ – ‘It’s about authentic Islam,’ he said.
‘They say often that I’m being provocative, but it’s not true, I want to be sincere,’ Abdeslam said. ‘My goal is not to hurt anyone.’
Abdeslam helped rent cars and hotel rooms for the terrorists who attacked Paris on the night of November 13, and acted as a driver during the attack itself.
He is also thought to have helped manufacture explosives used in the assault, and a defective bomb belt with his DNA on it was found dumped in a bin in the city.
Seven of the jihadists died during the attack itself, while two more were killed in a police raid several days later.
Abdeslam stayed on the run for four months before he was tracked to the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, where he grew up, and was arrested after a shoot-out.
The marathon trial will last until May 2022, with 145 days of scheduled hearings involving about 330 lawyers and 300 victims.
Abdeslam is on trial with 19 others in the biggest legal case in modern French history. The hearing is expected to last until May 2022 (pictured, Abdeslam’s lawyers)
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