Eyewitnesses recall the horror of the attacks that killed at least 140
Those who managed to escape Friday’s violence at the Bataclan concert venue described a horrifying scene inside, where more than 100 hostages were reportedly killed by at least two men with guns and explosives.
The men entered the venue with AK-47s, hurling explosives into clusters of music fans. The massacre ended around midnight
The gunmen wore flak jackets, according to eyewitnesses, and several yelled “This is for Syria” in English and “God is good” in Arabic, NPR reports. They didn’t rush, witnesses said, killing their victims one at a time and taking time to reload at least three times.
Julien Pearce, a journalist, told BBC that “several men came into the concert” and were not wearing masks.
“They came in with what looked like Kalashnikovs and fired blindly on the crowd,” Pierce recalled. He added, “They were shooting at us like if we were birds.”
Pierce added that the shooters were “very young” and that the shooting “lasted between 10 and 15 minutes” and “was extremely violent and there was panic.”
“It was a bloodbath,” he added. “It was easy for them.”
Several concertgoers fled the concert by American rock act The Eagles of Death Metal.
Another witness seemed to confirm this account to Le Monde: “I was at the show around 9:30, 9:40, when two or three people – two for sure – came in and started shooting blindly with automatic weapons, with a Kalashnikov that lasted at least ten, fifteen minutes. They reloaded, they had the time they needed. They reloaded three or four times and that lasted at least 10 minute.”
The witness said that “at one moment we took refuge behind the stage, we were blocked, and when the shots stopped we took advantage of the respite to take the emergency exit, and we saw lots of people in the street who were covered in blood, who had gunshot wounds.”
Another witness told France 24 that she heard “loads of shots,” but didn’t think the shooting was real at first. When people started rushing for the doors, “that’s when I saw people with blood all over their clothes, and another was shot in the leg.”
The woman added: “I am very lucky to be alive.”
MSNBC reported that two men arrived in a car and used automatic weapons and opened fire on a man eating outside a restaurant. They then entered the restaurant and opened fire.
Charlotte Brehaut, who was eating inside the restaurant and sitting near the window with a companion when shots came in, missing both her and the person she was seated with.
“As soon as we hit the floor, the first thing i thought of were the Charlie Hebdo attacks,” Brehaut said. “It was the same kind of feeling of dread and uncertainty that we had in January of this year.”
Initially after the gunfire, Brehaut said, “It seemed as if they weren’t coming in. And i think the initial shock of there being casualties in the restaurant and shots going in the restaurant. After that, we were waiting to see whether or not they would come in, and they didn’t, thankfully.”
One witness who was standing at the bar in a restaurant where one of the attacks unfolded told reporters “there are lots of dead people” and added the scene was “pretty horrific to be honest. I was at the back of the bar. I couldn’t see anything. I heard gunshots. People dropped to the ground. We put a table over our heads to protect us.”
The man added it was difficult to get out of the restaurant because of the bodies that blocked their exit.