Carlos the Jackal's trial for four bomb attacks committed in France in the 80s will open on November 7, not November 2 as previously expected, a court source said on Tuesday.

"/> Carlos the Jackal's trial for four bomb attacks committed in France in the 80s will open on November 7, not November 2 as previously expected, a court source said on Tuesday.

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TERRORISM

New date set for Carlos the Jackal’s trial

Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal's trial for four bomb attacks committed in France in the 80s will open on November 7, not November 2 as previously expected, a court source said on Tuesday.

The Marxist-Leninist radical whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez is already serving a life sentence in France for the 1975 murder of two French policemen and a police informer.  

Carlos, born in 1949, rose to prominence in 1975 when his commando group burst into the conference room where ministers from the powerful OPEC oil cartel were meeting in Vienna. He took 11 hostages.

Carlos will this time be tried for “complicity in killings and destruction of property using explosive substances” for bombings in France in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 and injured more than 100 people.  

He is charged, with three others, for attacks on a train from Paris to the southwestern city of Toulouse that left five dead; on the Paris office of the Arabic-language Al Watan magazine that killed one; on the Saint-Charles train station in the Mediterranean city of Marseille that killed two and on a high-speed TGV train that killed three.  

The Paris-Toulouse train line was frequently used at the time by Jacques Chirac, France’s former right-wing president who was then mayor of Paris.  

The charge sheet says the attacks were part of a “private war” waged by Carlos against France to obtain the release of two members of his gang who were arrested as they prepared an attack on the Kuwaiti embassy in Paris.  

After two decades on the run, Carlos was finally captured in Khartoum in 1994 by French secret service agents acting with the help of the Sudanese government.  

Three other suspected members of Carlos‘s criminal organisation — “Ali” Kamal Al-Issawi, Christa-Margot Froehlich et Johannes Weinrich — will also stand trial for the bombings.  

The trial is scheduled to run until December 16 in a special terrorism court.

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TERRORISM

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks

US Vice President Kamala Harris and French Prime Minister Jean Castex laid wreaths at a Paris cafe and France's national football stadium Saturday six years since deadly terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks
US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff lay flowers after ceremonies at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, at which 130 people were killed during the 2015 Paris terror attacks. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/POOL/AFP

The attacks by three separate teams of Islamic State group jihadists on the night of November 13, 2015 were the worst in France since World War II.

Gunmen mowed down 129 people in front of cafes and at a concert hall in the capital, while a bus driver was killed after suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the stadium in its suburbs.

Harris, wrapping up a four-day trip to France, placed a bouquet of white flowers in front of a plaque honouring the victims outside a Paris cafe.

Castex attended a minute of silence at the Stade de France football stadium, along with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, before laying wreaths at the sites of the other attacks inside Paris.

In front of the Bataclan concert hall, survivors and relatives of the victims listened to someone read out the names of each of the 90 people killed during a concert there six years ago.

Public commemorations of the tragedy were called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to come and we all found it really tough,” said Bruno Poncet, who made it out alive of the Bataclan.

But he said the start of a trial over the attacks in September meant that those attending the commemoration this year felt more united.

‘Overcome it all’

“We’ve really bonded thanks to the trial,” he said. “During previous commemorations, we’d spot each other from afar without really daring to speak to each other. We were really shy. But standing up in court has really changed everything.”

The marathon trial, the biggest in France’s modern legal history, is expected to last until May 2022.

Twenty defendants are facing sentences of up to life in prison, including the sole attacker who was not gunned down by police, Salah Abdeslam, a French-Moroccan national who was captured in Brussels. Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia.

Poncet said he felt it was crucial that he attend the hearings. “I can’t possibly not. It’s our lives that are being discussed in that room, and it’s important to come to support the others and to try to overcome it all.”

Survivors have taken to the witness stand to recount the horror of the attacks, but also to describe life afterwards.

Several said they had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, grappling with survivor’s guilt, or even feeling alienated from the rest of society.

Saturday’s commemorations are to wrap up with a minute of silence at the Stade de France in the evening before the kick-off for a game between France and Kazakhstan.

It was during a football match between France and Germany that three suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2015.

Then-French president Francois Hollande was one of the 80,000 people in the crowd, before he was discreetly whisked away to avoid triggering mass panic.

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