May 20, 2022

Harris and French Prime Minister lay wreaths six years after Paris terrorist attacks

PARIS (AFP) – US Vice President Kamala Harris and French Prime Minister Jean Castex laid wreaths in a Paris café and in France’s national football stadium, six years after the deadly terrorist attacks that killed 130 people.

The attacks carried out by three separate teams of extremists from the Islamic State (IS) group on the night of November 13, 2015 were the worst in France since World War II.

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

Harris, closing a four-day trip to France, placed a bouquet of white flowers in front of a plaque honoring the victims in front of a Parisian cafe.

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

Café owner Ali Amokrane (left) chats with Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff on the sixth anniversary of the Paris bombing at the Carillon Café in Paris. PHOTO: AP

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

Public commemorations for the tragedy were canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to come and we all found it very hard,” said Bruno Poncet, who survived the Bataclan attack.

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

“We really bonded thanks to the trial,” he said.

“During previous commemorations, we saw each other from afar without really daring to speak to each other. We were really shy.

“But standing up in court really changed everything.”

The marathon trial, the largest in modern French judicial history, is expected to last until May 2022.