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    National Assembly, Paris, France

    French Lawmakers Hear of 'Botched' Response of Officials After Paris Attack

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    An inquiry by the French Parliament has heard a series of accusations by the families of victims of the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris - in which 130 died and over 350 were injured - and that the response by the authorities was "botched", slow and sometimes inappropriate.

    The attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 were the worst committed on French soil since the Second World War. In the evening, three suicide bombers struck near the Stade de France where thousands — including French President Francois Hollande — were watching a France-Germany friendly football match. One person, apart from the suicide bombers — was killed.

    Then, attackers began indiscriminately shooting people at a cafes, bars and restaurants near the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement, in Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi and Rue de Charonne. A suicide bomber blew himself up in Boulevard Voltaire.

    In the worst incident, attackers began shooting inside the Bataclan theater, where the group Eagles of Death Metal were playing to an audience of around 1,500.

    In the ensuing chaos, the French Parliament has heard allegations that the authorities were slow to react — despite being on high terror alert warning, following the Charlie Hebdo and related attacks in January 2015, and subsequent terror threats.

    Families of victims had to wait days to find out what had happened to their loved ones, with many complaining that it was difficult to get information from official sources, despite social media exploding with rumors.

    Bataclan theater, Paris, France
    Bataclan theater, Paris, France

    Georges Salines, who heads the "November 13, Brotherhood and Truth" association said the authorities' delay in informing next of kin "was well beyond what one would reasonably call botched," adding that the authorities were "atrociously badly prepared."

    Another witness, Caroline Langlade, who was among 40 people hiding in a tiny side room at the Bataclan said she had tried in vain to call the police on the normal emergency number and resorted to calling her mother in Nancy, a city in northeast France, who called her local police. A second time Mme Langdale called the emergency services, the operator "hung up on me because I was whispering."

    Intelligence Failures

    The complaints against the authorities come amid criticism of intelligence failures ahead of the attacks, which could have been averted. It emerged after the attacks that Abdelhamid Abaaoud — one of the terrorists — was able to cross from Europe by ferry and meet jihadists in the UK, despite having an international arrest warrant out on him.

    Salah Abdeslam, from Belgium, was known to the law enforcement services yet managed to buy detonators in France using his driving license as proof of identity.

    It has also emerged that French intelligence agents had interviewed a jihadist who had returned from Syria in June 2015, and who said he had met Abaaoud.

    The jihadist told the officers that Abaaoud discussed soft targets in Paris that would involve mass killings. He spoke of "finding an easy target, a concert for example, where there are [a lot of] people. Imagine a rock concert in a European country, if we gave you arms, would you be prepared to fire into the crowd?" he said.

    Related:

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    French PM Warns 'Hyper-Terrorism' Makes Attacks in Europe a 'Certainty'
    France and Germany Demand Brussels Speed Up Anti-Terror Proposals
    Tags:
    terror threat, survivors, inquiry, terror attack, Islamic extremism, authorities, intelligence, government, terrorism, victims, November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, Daesh, Paris, France
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