Paris show of strength as it opens up for business in terror aftermath

By Lorna O’Neill

TODAY Paris is set to open up its museums and landmarks in a national show of strength as the world continues to mourn at least 129 killed in a terror attack.

The museums and landmarks, including the famous Louvre and Eiffel Tower, will reopen at 12pm Irish time today.

The openings will take place after a minute’s silence.

Schools, athletic clubs and other public venues, are also expected to open today.

French Minister of Culture and Communication Fleur Pellerin said the spaces would be open with safety implementations.

Street markets will be reopened but will be under “special scrutiny,” according to the Paris town hall.

But demonstrations and other public gatherings will be banned for a period.

The news of Paris’ return to the world after the biggest atrocity in the city since World War Two, came after a weekend of international support from countries across the world.

On Saturday several thousand, mostly French people, marched in tribute to the victims, in Dublin.

And leaders from across the West signed books of condolence to the dead.

One Irishman caught up in the terror attack, who suffered gunshot wounds, was recovering last night after surgery in the French capital.

And Irish citizens, living or holidaying in France recalled the situation as they witnessed the fear cast upon a city normally known for its romance.

Juliette Charton, who was at the forefront of the Dublin march, was already looking forward to her trip home to Paris at Christmas, urging others not to stay away from the city that was so clearly attempting to get back in business today.

“We should not be afraid, we must be strong,” she said.

But amidst the Parisian fight for its future, came news last night that French aircraft had struck Raqqa in Syria, the stronghold for the Islamic State terror group, claiming responsibility for the Paris attack.

President Francois Hollande had declared Friday’s attacks in Paris as an act of war and vowed France’s reaction would be pitiless.

Ten French fighter jets from Jordan and the UAE dropped 20 guided bombs on a reported recruitment centre for jihadists, a command centre and ammunitions depot and a training camp for fighters.

The air assault occurred  with U.S support.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday night’s terror attack had been prepared by “individuals based in Belgium,” who had “benefited from accomplices in France.”

The group of killers targeted bars and restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France, France’s main sports arena.

It appeared though Paris is trying to recover from the acts of terrorism that public spirit was incredibly shaken yesterday as crowds ran over flowers and candles in the Place la Republique, where hundreds gathered to remember victims.

Eiffel Tower
Monuments in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, will reopen at 12pm Irish time

Police told how mourners had been alarmed at the sound of firecrackers, and fled thinking they had heard gunfire.

A manhunt is underway to find one of the suspected terrorists, Salah Abdelslam, one of three brothers linked to the atrocity.

Abdelslam had been identified as the renter of a VW Polo at the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people died.

Belgian police stopped him and two others as they travelled in another vehicle on Saturday morning but the officers let him go after checking his ID, media reported, quoting French police and security sources.

Seven men have been arrested.  Not all of these were last night being held in connection with the attack.  A brother of Salah Abdelslam was said to be one of those detained.

The only dead attacker to be named so far is Frenchman Ismail Omar, 29.  He had a criminal record and was on a watch list by French intelligence for being a possible jihadist.

Galway Cathedral was last night lit up in French colours and President Michael D Higgins will sign a book of condolence with wife Sabina at the French Embassy in Dublin today.

The Dail and Northern Ireland Assembly will observe a minute’s silence today and on Tuesday.

There were no more reports of Irish people hurt in the Paris attack but on British man has been named among the dead.

Nick Alexander, 36, from Colchester, Essex, had been selling merchandise for rock band Eagles of Death metal, who were playing a gig at the Bataclan concert hall – the scene of the highest death toll.

His girlfriend Polina Buckley used Twitter to search for Mr Alexander but tragically he had died.


Former girlfriend, Helen Wilson was with Mr Alexander at the time of the shootings within the concert hall.

The pair had lay on the ground but he was shot in front of her and Ms Wilson was injured in both legs.

A number of rock singers paid tribute to Mr Alexander, including drummer Patrick Carney from the Black Keys, and Joe Trohman, lead guitarist from Fall Out Boy.

Mr Alexander’s family said he had “died doing the job he loved.”




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