September 18, 2021

Parisians remember a night of terror as a criminal case unfolds (Part 1 of 2)

Most Parisians remember where they were on the evening of November 13, 2015, when Islamist terrorists launched attacks in Saint-Denis and central Paris, killing 130 people and injuring 350. Noam, a police officer, and Celia, a surgeon, told France 24 how this evening changed their lives – and how they managed to move forward.

France faced the deadliest situation ever. Terrorist attack In November 2015, when three teams of jihadists attacked the Stade de France National Stadium and the Bata Clan Music Hall, as well as restaurants and bars (Le Carlon, La Belle Ecope, La Bone Beer, Le Pet Cambridge, Le Computer Voltaire) almost simultaneously. Started In central Paris. Of France The largest criminal case ever. Opening in Paris on Wednesday, 20 people face trial for involvement in the attacks, the deadliest on French soil since World War II. The trial is expected to last nine months.

France24 spoke to several Parisians whose lives were affected by the attacks.

• name, To Police officer near Paris: These tragic events made me realize how precious and precious life is. […] I don’t want to work for the police anymore.

Noam was not to work on the evening of November 13, 2015. Resting on his sofa at home, a 45-year-old police officer from the DRPP, an intelligence unit from the Paris police prefecture, was watching a friendly match between France. And as always on German television, he was watching on social media. That’s how he realized something extraordinary was happening. A phone call from his police comrades immediately confirmed his concerns.

“A colleague called me to say that a bomb had exploded near the Stade de France, without knowing if it was terrorism. Since I work on counter-terrorism matters, my colleagues told me. “Can I help?” Noam jumped on his scooter and headed for the stadium, just north of Paris, on the outskirts of Saint-Denis. The second bomb exploded as he was leaving. As he arrived at the scene, he heard a third explosion in front of a McDonald’s restaurant.

He entered the Events Caf in the French capital with Paris Prefect, a senior police officer. “I was stunned, I had never seen such a scene before,” Noam told France 24. He saw several pieces of bloody meat, which at first glance made him look like the meat of a restaurant kitchen. He then realized that he was looking at the remains of the suicide bomber. Despite his shock, he managed to keep a cool head – as the Paris Prefect had with him.

“I told myself I couldn’t get over my emotions. I had to get my job done.” He found the terrorist’s Syrian passport near the restaurant, but it turned out to be a fake document.

Noam stayed with Perfect to ensure his safety. He was already thinking about the investigation and ordered the police to get the license plate numbers of all the vehicles in the area.

That’s when he started receiving phone calls from people worried about his relatives at the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris. “I felt really upset (…) I didn’t want to take responsibility for announcing the terrible news,” said Noam, who eventually stopped answering phone calls from numbers he didn’t know.

A few weeks after the attacks, Nawam became angry and frustrated at the police’s failure to stop the massacre. “I tell myself we cheated, that we could have avoided it with more material and financial resources.”

Noam, former DRPP policeman, intelligence unit in Paris police.
Noam, former DRPP policeman, intelligence unit in Paris police. © DR / Noam

He became even more bitter when he realized that he had written an intelligence report on one of the Bata Klan terrorists, Semi Amimor. “He should have been in jail, but he was out of judicial custody.”

The police officer has since taken up a new career. “These tragic events have made me realize how precious and fragile life is. I don’t want to work for the police anymore. Unfortunately, being a government employee for the DGSI (France’s internal intelligence agency), you Turns it into a target. “

He also noticed that some of his peers viewed him differently because of his faith. “Some of them said they don’t trust me anymore because I was a Muslim. I’ve always been loyal, a patriot, but I had enough to prove myself right, so I called the police. Left. “

Noam has since decided to start studying to share his expertise on terrorism. He recently worked with the CLSPD (Local Security and Crime Prevention Councils), an organization that aims to prevent crime at the municipal level. He is also working on a new book on security issues. “Now I just want to live a peaceful life,” he said.

* Celia, Surgeon: ‘It’s something that will always be a part of my life. I know I can be useful in such situations. “

It all started as a quiet evening for Celia, who was a few months pregnant at the time. Dressed in his pajamas, the 33-year-old vascular surgeon was enjoying a movie with his boyfriend. But a series of text messages from family members made him realize that something terrible was happening. Celia quickly called her colleagues and decided to report for work. Because he feared the attacks were still going on, he requested security before jumping into the taxi. “A police car came to my rescue, as we usually do when we move the lungs for a transplant.”

She headed straight for St. Louis Hospital, not far from the Carlon Bar and Pete Camboj restaurant, both of which were targeted by gunmen that night. Several critically injured people had already been brought in.

Celia recalls, “It was a real battle scene. As a surgeon specializing in repairing blood vessels, she was already familiar with gunshots. But she was silent in the intensive care unit and the victims were” empty. ” Was stunned.

“He wasn’t saying anything, he was in shock. He had just been incredibly tortured, when he least expected it – while he was drinking with friends in the terrace bar. I remembered a young woman with wounds who looked completely bad. Apart from her body, it was as if she had nothing to lose. “

Celia left the hospital after an overnight shift. Stunned and bewildered, he saw the sunrise in the early hours of November 14th.

Celia, a vascular surgeon who worked at St. Louis Hospital, was located on the night of the attacks, not far from the Carlon Bar and the Petit Kamboj restaurant.
Celia, a vascular surgeon who worked at St. Louis Hospital, was located on the night of the attacks, not far from the Carlon Bar and the Petit Kamboj restaurant. © DR / Célia

The gruesome scenes she saw six months later during her maternity leave caught up with her. “I’ve had a lot of nightmares. I’ve been through a lot of things and I think I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said.

Celia began writing as a form of therapy. She remembers an athlete whose lung was pierced by a bullet. He will never achieve the high level of athletic career he envisioned. “He wrote a book, I bought it, and he let me hear it again.”

She remembers how she managed to keep a cool head while treating the victims that night. “It’s something that will always be a part of my life. (…) I know I can be useful in such situations.

Today, she works in Savoy, a branch of the French Alps, not far from Paris. Faced with the horrors of the Paris attacks, he abandoned his initial idea of ​​doing inhumane things in war zones.

“But if I had to do it again,” he said, referring to the night care at St. Louis Hospital, “I’ll do it again with a beating heart.”

This article is adapted from the original in French.

>> Read Part 2: How the Paris Attacks Affected the Lives of Bart, La Belle Equip Restaurant Manager Nicholas, a real estate agent who lived near the Bataclan concert hall. And Jane Baptist, history teacher.

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