The lone survivor of the jihadist group that killed 130 people in Paris six years ago said the attacks were “nothing personal” and were carried out to avenge airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
Salah Abdeslam was part of a cell of 10 people, mostly French or Belgian, which coordinated a series of attacks against the French capital in 2015.
Speaking during his trial, he insisted that the deaths of civilians were the result of the actions of former President Françoise Hollande, who had authorized strikes against Isis.
“We fought France, we attacked France, we targeted the civilian population – but it was nothing personal against them,” he said.
“Françoise Hollande knew the risks he was taking by attacking the Islamic State in Syria”, adding that the president knew that “by taking this decision, the French would die”.
On the evening of November 12, 2015, Paris and the neighboring suburb of Saint-Denis were hit by a series of attacks within minutes of each other, killing 130 and injuring 350.
Three suicide bombers first targeted supporters outside the Stade de France during a football match, after failing to enter the stands.
The attackers then shot people in crowded cafes and restaurants in Paris, one of whom also detonated a suicide bomb.
Another group of men also carried out mass shootings during a concert at the Bataclan Theater, which led to a confrontation with the police.
Abdeslam is accused of leading the attackers to the national stadium overnight and of planning to carry out his own attack that night.
He is believed to have backed up or his waistcoat malfunctioned, and was later found by police in a trash can.
He allegedly hid in the south of Paris following the attacks, before fleeing to his hometown of Brussels where he was arrested four months later.
A few days after his arrest in March 2016, Brussels was hit by a series of bomb attacks on its metro network and its airport, killing 32 civilians and the three perpetrators, and injuring more than 300 people.
The attackers are believed to have been part of the same jihadist cell that targeted Paris.
The Independent Gt