Wednesday 18 September 2019

'So many people died because they refused to leave their friends - singer of Eagles of Death Metal speaks out for the first time since Bataclan massacre

Undated VICE Media handout photo of Joshua Homme (left) and Jesse Hughes (centre) of the Eagles of Death Metal being interviewed by VICE founder Shane Smith
Undated VICE Media handout photo of Joshua Homme (left) and Jesse Hughes (centre) of the Eagles of Death Metal being interviewed by VICE founder Shane Smith
In this Sept. 11, 2015 file photo, Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal performs at Riot Fest & Carnival in Douglas Park in Chicago

The lead singer of rock back Eagles of Death Metal has told how Paris terrorists slaughtered fans hiding in the band's dressing room after striking at their concert.

In an emotional interview with Vice, Jesse Hughes, 43, described how just one person in the room survived - by hiding under the vocalist's leather jacket.

Eighty-nine of the Paris attacks' 130 deaths were at the band's gig on November 13, where Islamist gunmen struck, firing indiscriminately at the crowd. More than 100 more were injured in the venue.

Vice released a 55-second clip of an interview by its founder Shane Smith with Hughes and band co-founder Josh Homme, the frontman of Queens of the Stone Age, ahead of the full interview being released on next week.

The interview came as Prime Minister David Cameron prepared to visit Paris on Monday after military action against Islamic State (IS) in Syria grew a step closer following approval by the United Nations Security Council for plans to redouble its efforts to prevent further attacks from extremists.

In the video, a clearly emotional Hughes said: "Several people hid in our dressing room and the killers were able to get in and killed every one of them, except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket.

"People were playing dead and they were so scared - a great reason so many were killed was because so many people wouldn't leave their friends. So many people put themselves in front of people.

As the terrorists held people hostage at the Bataclan, armed French police stormed the building and shot one dead, while two others blew themselves up using suicide vests. Another gunman died nearby.

One British fatality was Nick Alexander, 36, from Colchester, who was selling merchandise for the band.

Mr Cameron, who is seeking to bolster support for UK air strikes in Syria, will meet French president Francois Hollande for talks at the Elysee Palace.

The UN security council backed a French-sponsored resolution designed "to combat by all means this unprecedented threat", saying IS "constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security".

It was hailed as an "important moment" by Mr Cameron as he seeks backing for UK air strikes in Syria, saying the vote "shows beyond doubt the breadth of international support for doing more in Syria and for decisive action to eradicate" IS, which he described as "this evil death cult".

France will be on a state of high alert until well into the new year after the country's senate voted to extend a state of emergency for three months following last week's deadly attacks.

The move expands powers to allow police to carry out arrests and searches, while authorities can ban the movement of people and vehicles at specific times and places.

The death toll from the terrorist atrocities rose to 130, one week since IS militants attacked a concert hall, the French national stadium and several cafes and restaurants in Paris, leaving hundreds injured. Ninety remain in intensive care.

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