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Bataclan survivor: 'They were just shooting at the crowd'

The Local/AFP · 14 Nov 2015, 02:41

Published: 14 Nov 2015 02:41 GMT+01:00

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"We were in the main concert hall and had just finished watching the support band. We heard this noise behind us, but no one really thought much of it, at first. We never thought for one moment it was a terror attack," Paul told The Local. 
"They came in through the front door and just began shooting at the crowd, shooting at everyone like crazy.
Outside the Bataclan cafe, near the Bataclan concert hall. Photo: Martin Bureau. 
"I heard them shout something like, 'This is for Syria' and 'This is for Iraq'. There were three of them. They were shouting at people not to move and if they did, they just shot them. They would shoot whenever a mobile telephone went off.
"There were people lying on the floor. There was blood everywhere. A man near me was shot and he fell to floor. The friend I was with got some kind of shrapnel wound in her hip.
"I was watching what was was happening and just thought 'I'm going to die'. The three gunmen then went up on to the balcony above the main hall and at that point we just thought, we have to move now. We ran out and I just remember seeing the police outside.
"I got outside and I was just happy to be out. I don't remember what I saw, just lots of injured people. We got the Metro away from the area, but police advised us to go back to the Bataclan because we might have had some useful information.
"We are in shock. Total shock."
Emergency workers help an injured man near the Bataclan concert hall. Photo: Miguel Medina.
A reporter for France's Europe 1 radio station, Julien Pierce, was also inside the building, describing it as "a blood bath". 
"People yelled, screamed and everybody lying on the floor, and it lasted for 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head(s)," he told CNN.
"We heard so many gunshots and the terrorists were very calm, very determined and they reloaded three or four times their weapons and they didn't shout anything. They didn't say anything."
Pierce recounted seeing 20 to 25 bodies on the floor and others very badly injured.
Police sources later said at least 100 people were killed at the attack on the concert venue.
Another witness said gunmen were shouting "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest).
'Yelling and screaming' 
Pierce said he was lucky to be near the front of the stage as the gunmen, wearing black clothes and wielding AK-47s, opened fire.
"People started to try to escape to walk on people on the floor and try to find the exits, and I found an exit when the terrorists reloaded their guns in the meantime, and I climbed on the stage and we found an exit."
The journalist said he took a teenage girl who was bleeding heavily and carried her to a taxi where he told the driver to take her to hospital.
He said that as he was speaking to CNN some of his friends were still hiding inside the theatre.
Story continues below…
"They are hiding in some kind of room in the dark and they text me, and they are very afraid, of course, and they are waiting for the police to
intervene, but it's been over two hours now and this is terrible."
Later in the night police stormed the venue. Three suspected assailants were shot dead during the assault.
Pierce said he saw the face of one of the gunmen, who was probably 20 to 25 years old.
Asked if he could hear what language they were speaking, he replied,
"Nothing. I heard nothing, just the yelling and screaming of the people. They didn't shout anything. They didn't say anything. They said nothing. They just shot. They just shoot. They were just shooting at people."
"What happened was terrible. I mean, honestly, 15 minutes, 10 minutes of gunshots firing randomly in a small concert room. I mean, it's not a huge concert room. It's a small one. Two thousand people were there maximum and it was -- it was horrible."

The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

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