Paris attacks: France holds service two weeks after massacre

November 27, 2015, 11:27am


French President Francois Hollande led the tributes at the memorial service. Photo: Reuters

By BBC News

France has held a national memorial service for the 130 people who died in the Paris attacks two weeks ago.

Around 1,000 people attended the service in central Paris, including President Francois Hollande, survivors of the attacks and victims' families.

A minute's silence was held and the names of all the victims read out.

Attackers with assault rifles and suicide belts targeted a number of sites in the capital. Islamic State later said it was behind the assault.

In his speech, President Hollande said France would "do all it can to destroy this army of fanatics".

"It will operate relentlessly to protect its children." he said.

He vowed that France would respond with more music, concerts and sporting events, after some of the attacks targeted a concert venue and a stadium.

Among those attending the service were the parents of British victim Nick Alexander, who said that they were now "intrinsically linked" to those who had also lost loved ones.

However, not all the victims' families accepted the invitation to attend the service at the grand Les Invalides complex that houses a military museum and Napoleon's tomb.

The family of one victim told French media they had refused, saying not enough had been done to protect the nation in the wake of other attacks earlier this year.

In a series of co-ordinated attacks on 13 November, the gunmen opened fire on restaurants and bars in the city and stormed a concert hall, where 89 people were shot dead.

Three more attackers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, after staff denied them entry to a football match between France and Germany. More than 350 people were injured in the attacks - the worst in recent French history.

At least nine people are believed to have been directly involved in carrying out the latest attacks. They are all dead, but two more men, including suspect Salah Abdeslam, are still on the run as a huge manhunt continues in France and Belgium.

Some of the attackers - including suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who died in a police raid in Paris last week - had lived in Brussels.