Former French President Francois Hollande Testifies Over 2015 Paris Attacks

Former French President Francois Hollande testified on Nov. 10 over the 2015 Paris terror attacks, telling the court that authorities “did everything we could.”

Hollande faced questions about how Islamic State (IS) terrorists avoided detection from intelligence authorities to carry out the attacks that killed 130 people and injured 400 others on Nov. 13, 2015.

Hollande, who was the president when the attacks took place, told a Paris court that the government knew terrorists were planning attacks and were entering Europe disguised as refugees, “but we did not know where, when, or how they would strike us.”

Hollande insisted that intelligence services had “done all they could” to “identify and neutralize” threats.

Hollande also denied that there were any connections between the attacks and the French military intervention in Iraq and Syria in 2014 and 2015.

Salah Abdeslam, the chief defendant in the trial whom prosecutors say was the only surviving member of the IS cell that carried out the attacks, told the court in September that they were retaliating against the French airstrikes against IS.

“Francois Hollande knew the risks he was taking in attacking the Islamic State in Syria,” Abdeslam said.

In a sound recording of the attacks, the gunmen can be heard telling the victims that “they only had Francoise Hollande to blame,” which Hollande dismissed as “a kind of signature.”

Hollande said that IS targeted France “because it is the country of human rights, of freedom.”

“This group struck us not for our actions abroad, but for our ways of life at home,” Hollande said.

Hollande’s testimony is the latest stage in the largest criminal trial in French modern history, which is expected to last until May 2022.

The trial began in September and has heard testimonies from survivors and relatives of victims.


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