image source, Elisabeth de Pourquery / FranceTele / Reuters caption of the 'image Salah Abdeslam was allowed to speak by the judge (sketch of the start of the trial)
The main defendant in the November 2015 The trial of the Paris attacks sought to justify the murder of 130 people in retaliation for French military action against Jihadists in the Lamic State (IS).
Prosecutors say Salah Abdeslam, 32 years old, is the only surviving member of the ISIS cell that targeted Paris that night.
"We attacked France, targeted its population, civilians, but there was nothing personal, " he said at trial.
His words shocked and upset survivors and relatives of the victims in court.
Last week he disrupted the trial with two explosions, but this time the judge allowed the defendants to make a brief statement and reporters said his conduct was more measured.
Later this month, some of the survivors of the November 13 bomb and gun attacks will begin to testify , which is expected to take five weeks.
Although there are 20 defendants on trial, Salah Abdeslam is the prime suspect and only 13 others are in court. Most of the others are presumed dead.
image source , Reuters image caption The judge gave all defendants the opportunity to make a short statement on Wednesday (file photo) figcaption >
He pointed the finger at former President Francois Hollande, saying that when he authorized airstrikes against IS militants in Syria, he knew French citizens would die .
War planes frFrench did not make a distinction between men, women and children, he said, and "we wanted France to go through the same pain ". Even though he knew his words could upend "sensitive souls " he said his goal was to be sincere and not to lie.
'Shame of that '
Relatives and survivors in the courtroom cried and kissed as the main accused spoke for four to five minutes. Rejecting the terms "terrorists " and "radicalism ", he told the court it was "genuine Islam ".
Journalists described shock and gasps in the courtroom. Among those who heard him was David, a survivor of the Paris bombings.
"I get the impression that he managed to set himself apart from what he did. did six years ago o - wear an explosive belt and kill people, "David told the BFMTV news channel.
"It 's strange because as victims we have been there. We have been targeted and personally affected and then suddenly he comes out and openly says it wasn ' t your fault but that you were there. , so no luck. Shame on this one. It just shows a lack of respect for what all the victims went through. "
Eighteen hundred civilian plaintiffs are participating in the trial.
The squad of 10 heavily armed jihadists first targeted the Stade de France, t hen attacked sidewalk cafes and restaurants in the 10th and 11th central arrondissements before breaking into the crowded Bataclan concert hall.
Nine of the attackers blew themselves up or were shot dead. Salah Abdeslam threw off his bomb belt and fled to Belgium. He was captured months later after a shooting in the Molenbeek district of Brussels.
Many of the other defendants also have a Belgian link:
- Mohamed Abrini , who was arrested on the day of the Brussels attacks in March 2015, admitted his involvement in the Paris attacks, when he addressed the court Wednesday. However, he stated that he was notmastermind behind the operation
- Mohamed Amri admitted to driving Salah Abdeslam from Paris to Belgium after the attacks, but denied any connection to terrorism
- Hamza Attou , also accused of having scared the main suspect, said the same thing
- Yassine Atar , accused to hold the keys at the main suspect's Brussels refuge, condemned the attacks and insisted on his innocence.
media caption Inside of the Bataclan: stories of survivors