Surviving Bataclan terror attacker Salah Abdeslam stated during his trial that terrorists and jihadists were “authentic Muslims” and told survivors and victims’ families the attack was “nothing personal”.
Abdeslam is the main defendant in the trial for the November 2015 coordinated terror attacks at France’s national football stadium, multiple cafes and restaurants, and the Bataclan music hall and is the only survivor of the nine attackers who killed 130.
“First of all, I would like to make a clarification in relation to the statements made by the Belgian judge. She talked about terrorists, jihadists, radicals. All of these terms create confusion. All this is just authentic Islam. All these radicals are Muslims,” he told the court on Wednesday.
According to a report from the newspaper Ouest France, the Islamic extremist went on to claim that the attacks had not been “personal”.
“I tell you: we fought France, we attacked France, we targeted civilians but we have nothing personal against them. We targeted France, nothing else. French planes do not distinguish men, women, children. They destroy everything in their path,” he said, alluding to French planes that bombed Islamic State and going on to claim former French President François Hollande’s decision to order military intervention in Syria was a pretext for the attack.
Bataclan Terrorist Declares Himself ‘Islamic State Soldier’ as Trial Begins https://t.co/GUCwukWKpJ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 8, 2021
“I know my statement may be shocking, but it is not to dig the knife deeper in the wound but to be sincere towards those who are suffering immeasurable grief,” he concluded.
George Salines, the father of one of the 130 victims of the terrorist attack, reacted to Abdeslam’s words, stating: “To explain that what we wanted to target was France and not individual persons -– right, except it was people who were injured and killed, innocent people, targeted voluntarily. It’s morally unacceptable.”
Last week, on the first day of the trial, Abdeslam declared himself a soldier of the Islamic State when asked about his profession.
While Abdeslam is the main defendant in the trial, he is one of 20 charged for their alleged roles in the terror attack. Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia, and a further five are presumed dead.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 11, 2016
Sofien Ayari, who is also a defendant in the trial, is known as a close associate of Abdeslam and was found hiding in a Brussels apartment with him months after the November 2015 attacks and participated in a shoot out with Belgian authorities before their arrest.
Abdeslam and Ayario were previously both convicted for their actions during the shootout, with Abdeslam receiving a 20-year sentence in prison. The Bataclan trial is expected to last up to nine months.