The November 2015 Paris Attacks: Background information when reading You Will Not Have My Hate

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You Will Not Have My Hate

by Antoine Leiris

You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris X
You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2016, 144 pages
    Oct 2017, 144 pages

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Kim Kovacs

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The November 2015 Paris Attacks

This article relates to You Will Not Have My Hate

Print Review

On Friday, November 13, 2015, suicide bombers and gunmen launched coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Antoine Leiris's wife Hélène was among the victims.

The first sign of trouble came at the Stade de France, a stadium in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. On the night in question, France was playing Germany in an international soccer match. Spectators were searched before being allowed to enter the stadium, and a man was discovered to be wearing a suicide belt packed with explosives. He backed away from the guards and detonated himself at 9:20 p.m., killing one bystander. A second bomber exploded his payload at a different entrance about 10 minutes later, and a third detonated at a McDonald's near the stadium at 9:53 p.m. It was later learned that the first bomber was supposed to blow himself up inside the stadium, causing panicked spectators to flee into the paths of the other two attackers, at which point they would trigger their explosives.

French President Francois Hollande and the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier were in attendance. President Hollande was evacuated at halftime but Mr. Steinmeier chose to remain. The game continued; fans weren't informed of the crisis until after it was over, and could only leave after being searched, a process which took hours. Concerned about a possible attack at their hotel, the German team chose to spend the night in the stadium, sleeping on mattresses set out for them. The French team also stayed behind as an act of solidarity.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Paris, other attacks were taking place. At 9:25 p.m. three gunmen pulled up in a black car, stopped on the rue Alibert outside Le Carillon, a café and bar, and started shooting patrons at tables outside the restaurant. They then crossed the rue Bichat and shot inside the Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, killing 15 and critically injuring 10, before jumping back in their car.

The three terrorists then arrived at the rue de la Fontaine au Roi, where they opened fire at diners in front of Café Bonne Bière and La Casa Nostra pizzeria at 9:32 p.m., killing 5 and injuring 8. Two men went from there to the rue de Charonne and opened fire for several minutes at the outdoor terrace of La Belle Équipe restaurant (19 killed, 9 in critical condition) while the third member of the team ordered dinner at a nearby restaurant – Le Comtoir Voltaire – and detonated his suicide belt (one injured).

The Bataclan theater in Paris in 2009 The largest loss of life occurred at the Bataclan concert hall. A California rock group, the Eagles of Death Metal, was playing in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,500 when three attackers wearing suicide belts took up positions on the mezzanine and started firing assault rifles into the crowd at 9:40 p.m. People fled in panic, some escaping via an emergency exit near the stage and others running to the roof. As police encircled the building, the terrorists rounded up about 100 of the survivors to serve as hostages, threatening to behead one every five minutes. An elite security force arrived and stormed the building at 00:20 because they believed the hostages were being killed. In the ensuing gunfire, one of the terrorists was shot, causing his suicide belt to explode. The other two bombers subsequently detonated their devices as well. All told, 89 people died at the venue and 99 others were left in critical condition.

ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating they were in retaliation for French airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. Of the nine men believed to be involved, seven died while carrying out their plans and two were shot later by police as they were about to be captured. Two additional men were arrested on suspicion of helping to plan the terror. All the individuals involved were European Union citizens who had fought in Syria and who were on terrorist watchlists. It's believed the killings were masterminded by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national killed in a police raid a few days later.

In all, 130 people were killed and as many as 368 injured in the deadliest attack on France since WWII.

Picture of Bataclan theater by JX Andreani

This "beyond the book article" relates to You Will Not Have My Hate. It originally ran in November 2016 and has been updated for the October 2017 paperback edition.

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