Monday 19 March 2018

Hollande honours victims of 2015 terror attacks

French President Francois Hollande. Photo: AP
French President Francois Hollande. Photo: AP

Julie Butler

French president Francois Hollande and other dignitaries held a special ceremony yesterday to honour all those killed in Islamic extremist violence around Paris in 2015.

At least one attacker is at still large and the country remains under a state of emergency after attacks in Paris on November 13.

The French capital was again jolted on Thursday when a man wearing a fake explosives vest and wielding a butcher's knife ran up to a police station and was shot dead by officers standing guard.

Mr Hollande and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo unveiled a plaque in memory of victims targeted at satirical newspaper 'Charlie Hebdo', a kosher market, a rock concert, cafes, a stadium and elsewhere. The violence left some 150 victims dead, and several attackers were also killed.

The ceremony took place at Place de la Republique, a plaza that has become a symbol of Parisians' solidarity since the attacks, which began on January 7, 2015 with the 'Charlie Hebdo' attack.


French rocker and national icon Johnny Hallyday joined the army choir in a special, sombre musical performance.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for national unity and insisted the government is doing all it can to protect France.

Many questions remain about the November 13 attacks, including how many people were involved and may still be at large. Mr Cazeneuve said yesterday: "We don't know where Salah Abdeslam is," referring to a fugitive gunman.

Abdeslam crossed into Belgium on November 14 and Belgian authorities believe he hid out in a Brussels apartment used to make bombs for the Paris attacks before moving on.

Meanwhile, acting on "concrete evidence" from French security authorities, German police on Saturday raided an apartment at a shelter for asylum-seekers in the western German city of Recklinghausen that they say had been occupied by the man who was killed by French police in Thursday's incident outside a Paris police station.

Mr Cazeneuve said the man was also believed to have lived in Luxembourg and Switzerland. French investigators were still trying to determine the man's identity.

Irish Independent

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