The only survivor of the jihadist cell who allegedly killed 130 people in Paris six years ago said at his trial that the attacks were revenge for the French airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, and that France knew" the risks "of attacking the Islamic State.
" We fought France, we attacked France, we targeted the civilian population - but it was nothing personal against them, "said Salah Abdeslam of the coordinated suicide attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, which started at the national football stadium, continued in bars and restaurants and ended with a massacre inside a rock concert at theBataclan concert.
"I know my statement may be shocking, but it is not to dig the knife deeper into the wound but to be sincere with those who are suffering immeasurable grief, "he told the court.
Abdeslam is the sole survivor of the group of 10 who allegedly attacked the French capital with machine guns and suicide bombings in the deadliest violence against the country since World War II. The other assailants killed each other. explode or were shot by police.
In court, Abdeslam spoke of ex-socialist president François Hollande, who had authorized strikes against targets of ISIS in Syria. "Francois Hollande knew the risks he was taking by attacking the Islamic State in Syria," he said, adding that the president knew that "by taking this decision,the French would die ".
Many at the court hearing, including the families of the dead and the 350 or so people who were physically injured, cried or cried. hugged as Abdeslam spoke on Wednesday on her 32nd birthday. The trial, which will last nine months, is on largest criminal trial in modern French legal history .
Abdeslam, who appeared in court last week as an" Islamic State fighter ", insisted that he and his co-defendants were not" terrorists , jihadists, extremists "but" Muslims "This is genuine Islam", he declared.
"They often say that I am provocative, but that 's not true, I want to be sincere, "My goal is not to hurt anyone.
For six years Abdeslam, a French citizen born in Brussels accused of being at the center of the vast international logistics operation which allowed jihadist commandos to return to Europe from the Syria, had maintained a stubborn and almost total silence towards the investigators.
But in the first days of the trial in Paris last week, he twice interrupted the debates with explosions. He said of several of his co-accused: "They helped me but they knew nothing at all. " At another point, he said that he and his co-accused were being treated “like dogs” in prison.
Abdeslam is accused of having escorted the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up. He is suspected of having planned to carry out his own suicide bombing in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, and to back down. Police found a suicide vest they believe he intended to usein a trash can. His brother blew himself up dead in a Parisian bar during the attacks. Abdeslam reportedly hid south of Paris after the attacks and called contacts in Brussels to pick him up by car.
Four months later, he was arrested in a Brussels apartment after a shootout with the police. A few days after his arrest, suicide bombers believed to be part of the same cell struck at Brussels airport and metro, killing 32 and injuring 270.
In total, 20 suspects are on t rial accused of having provided
Mohamed Abrini, 36, from Abdeslam is also on trial. childhood friend, who would have traveled in the Paris region with the November attackers and who was then cCCTV equipped with the two bombers at Brussels airport. He is accused of having participated in the financing and supply of weapons for the Paris attacks.
In court, Abrini admitted to having participated in terrorist attacks but said he was "neither the commander nor the architect ".