A top suspect in the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks said during a courtroom trial Wednesday that the deaths of 130 people who were killed in the attacks were “nothing personal.”
Salah Abdeslam was one of 14 defendants to speak at the Wednesday trial, The Associated Press reported. He is the only survivor of the terrorist cell that carried out the attacks, and fled the city after abandoning his rental car and suicide vest, prosecutors said. The two people who helped him travel to Paris from Brussels are also among the 20 men on trial for the attacks.
Nine gunmen and suicide bombers associated with the Islamic State network struck at several locations around Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. The attacks included suicide bombings outside the Stade de France soccer stadium and a mass shooting at the Bataclan concert hall.
As terror trial begins in Paris, sole surviving hit man, Salah Abdeslam, enters wearing a black t-shirt & long hair. “First I want to testify there’s only one God, Allah, & his sole divine messenger on earth is Muhammad,” he says. Judge responds: “we’ll see about all that later.” pic.twitter.com/957n6xgG3L
— Eleanor Beardsley (@ElBeardsley) September 8, 2021
The terrorist attack is considered among the worst to hit the West and was the deadliest incident of violence in France since World War II.
Abdeslam said the attacks were revenge for French airstrikes against militants in Syria and Iraq, according to The AP.
“We fought France, we attacked France, we targeted the civilian population. It was nothing personal against them,” he said. “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.”
The same Islamic State network carried out bombings at the Brussels airport and Maalbeek metro station during a series of terrorist attacks in March 2016 that killed 32 people. Mohammed Abrini, who is also on trial in Paris, had left the French capital prior to the incident but participated in the Brussels attacks, The AP reported. (RELATED: ISIS Officially Takes Credit For Kabul Airport Attack)
“In this evil that happened in France, I am neither the commander nor the architect. I provided no logistical nor financial help,” Abrini said during Wednesday’s trial.