Saturday 16 December 2017

Shopkeeper arrived for a new life but came close to losing it

Laura Lynott

A man whose business was blown up in the Real IRA bomb attack told yesterday how he escaped with his life but lost everything.

Tunisian-born kebab shop owner Lotfi Jalloul (37) saw the taxi pull up outside the Strand Road PSNI station but had no idea of the 'carnage' he was about to witness.

Mr Jalloul said: "I was in the shop and I saw the taxi driver pull up. He went into the station and then straight away a police officer came over to the shop and ordered us: 'Get out, turn everything off and get out'.

"I didn't have a clue what was going on. I didn't get the chance to even shut the door but I just got my workers and a customer out. After what seemed like a couple of minutes later, I saw a huge flash and there was a loud, terrifying bang.

"The taxi was on fire, it had exploded and we had only just got out.

"My business is completely destroyed and I only escaped with my life, but I have lost everything."

Mr Jalloul came to Derry to build his kebab shop business, but now his dreams lie in ruins.

Across Derry there was an eerily quiet atmosphere and people were clearly upset about the threatened return to terror that many had lived through for too long.

Irish Independent

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