London mayor in France for anniversary of Nov. 13 Paris attacks
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France on Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the country’s deadliest ever terrorist attacks with a procession linking the areas in and around Paris that were struck by jihadist gunmen on November 13, 2015.
The coordinated attacks, in which 130 people were killed, targeted the Stade de France stadium north of Paris as well as several cafes and restaurants in the French capital and the Bataclan concert hall.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo led commemorations at all six of the targeted sites on Tuesday morning, accompanied by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the ambassadors of several countries.
Outside the Bataclan, where 90 people were gunned down, the names of the victims were solemnly read out as dignitaries, including Khan, stood on the street in silence with heads inclined.
At the Bataclan this morning on the 3rd anniversary of the attack, with Mayor of London @SadiqKhan, the Mayor of Paris @Anne_Hidalgo and 🇫🇷 PM @EPhilippePM. Remembering all those who lost their lives - including the British citizen Nick Alexander. 🇬🇧🇫🇷#unitedwestand pic.twitter.com/cYA8IbtEvIEd Llewellyn (@EdLlewellynFCO) November 13, 2018
During a trip to Belgium next week, Macron is due to visit the Brussels district of Molenbeek where several of the jihadists behind the Nov. 13 attacks were based.
Molenbeek is also where police in March 2016 arrested fugitive gunman Salah Abdeslam, the sole survivor of the nine-man commando who carried out the attacks.
Relatives of the victims are still waiting for Abdeslam to be put on trial, along with suspected planners of the attacks, which were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. A trial is expected to take place sometime in 2020.
Earlier this year, a Paris court ruled that the French state was not responsible for failing to avert the attacks, dismissing a legal complaint by survivors of the massacre and relatives of the victims.
Victims' families have filed a second complaint to find out why French soldiers stationed near the Bataclan were told not to intervene when gunmen stormed the venue.
During the two-hour-long siege by jihadist militants, eight soldiers standing near the concert hall as part of the “Sentinelle” anti-terror policing operation were ordered not to use their weapons.
In 2016, a parliamentary probe pointed to a lack of coordination and confusing lines of authority that had slowed down the security forces’ response as the attack unfolded.
Three years after the attacks, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the terror threat to France remains high but has "changed shape", with the IS group weakened and counter-terrorism efforts strengthened.
Castaner said security services had foiled six terror attacks this ear, including a plot by far-right extremists who were detained last week on suspicion of targeting Macron.