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US Survivor of Paris Attacks Delivers Wrenching Testimony

Helen Wilson says boyfriend died in her arms
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2021 5:55 PM CDT
Survivors Recount Horror of Paris Terror Attacks
The specially built courtroom is pictured Thursday, Sept. 2 2021 at the court house in Paris.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(Newser) – Clarisse Faure told a Paris court Wednesday that she was there "for those who cannot do it today, for those who never left the Bataclan." She was among many survivors who delivered emotional testimony at the trial of 20 suspects accused of involvement in the 2015 terror attacks that killed 130 people, including 90 at the Bataclan theater. American survivor Helen Wilson, wearing a shirt that said "Love Always Wins," said boyfriend Nick Alexander died in her arms. "I wasn't going to let him go," she said, NBC reports. "I wasn't going to leave him there on his own. Why should I let him die?" Wilson was shot in both legs by gunmen who stormed the theater during a concert by US band Eagles of Death Metal.

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Survivors described hiding for hours, afraid they would die at any moment. "They were shooting us down like animals. As soon as a mobile phone rang, as soon as someone screamed, they fired," testified delivery driver Cedric Bouhour, per Reuters. "I heard someone die, suffocating in their own blood." Faure, who hid in a ceiling for hours, said she suffered PTSD and could not work for a long time after the attack. "You took away from me the pleasure of living," she told the 14 defendants in the Paris courtroom. Another six are being tried in absentia.

French American citizen Mohamed Amghar, hit by shrapnel in a suicide attack at the National Stadium, said he wanted to testify to tell the defendants that their version of Islam was wrong. "It's not my Islam," he said. Some 300 survivors and relatives of victims are expected to testify in the coming weeks, AFP reports. The only surviving attacker, Saleh Abdeslam, said on the trial's first day that he was an ISIS "soldier." Wilson told NBC that she wants him to acknowledge that "he made a lot of bad decisions and he’s sorry that he hurt so many people that didn’t deserve it"—but she doubts that it's going to happen. (Read more Paris terror attacks stories.)

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