Paris’ Bataclan hall will reopen for the first time since 90 people were killed by ISIS with a Sting concert.
Scores of survivors are expected to attend the concert, which is being held on the eve of the first anniversary of France’s bloodiest terror attacks.
Organizers said they decided to reopen the famed Paris concert venue to prevent it becoming a “tomb”.
Sting will donate the proceeds from the concert to two victims’ charities.
The Bataclan was the last place the militants targeted on November 13, 2015.
Image source Wikimedia
The co-ordinated attack had already struck the Stade de France and restaurants filled with people enjoying their evening.
The 130 people who lost their lives that night will be remembered in a series of low-key events over the weekend.
The concert at the Bataclan, where about 1,500 people had been watching American band Eagles of Death Metal when the gunmen burst in last year, is one of the most symbolic.
Jules Frutos, who has co-run the venue for the last 12 years, told AFP: “We had to go on after such horror and not leave a mausoleum, a tomb.”
He contacted Sting, who first performed at the Bataclan in 1978, about the concert after reading he wanted to help.
Sting says he hopes the concert will “respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell”.
The 1,000 tickets on offer for the concert sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale.
Hundreds of tickets were held for survivors, and there will be psychologists and counselors on stand-by for anyone who needs.
The concert venue will be closed on November 13, the actual anniversary, when a plaque is due to be unveiled in memory of those who lost their lives.
The Bataclan, the interior of which has been completely replaced, is opening again on November 16 for a series of concerts by Pete Doherty, Senegalese star Youssou N’Dour and British Sixties legend Marianne Faithfull.
Salah Abdeslam has revealed he wanted to blow himself up but then changed his mind, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins says.
The 26-year-old Paris attacks suspect has been charged with terrorism offences in Belgium a day after he was seized in a dramatic raid.
Salah Abdeslam will fight extradition to France but has been co-operating with police, his lawyer says.
The Paris attacks on November 13 left 130 people dead and dozens injured.
ISIS said it was behind the bombings and shootings.
Salah Abdeslam is charged with participation in terrorist murder and the activities of a terrorist group, Belgium’s federal prosecutor’s office says.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference: “Salah Abdeslam today during questioning by [Belgian] investigators affirmed that, and I quote, <<he wanted to blow himself up at the Stade de France and that he had backed down>>.”
Salah Abdeslam’s assertions should be treated with caution, the prosecutor added.
The French national, born in Belgium, is in custody following his arrest in Brussels on March 18 after four months on the run.
Investigators hope Salah Abdeslam, who was shot in the leg during his arrest, will reveal more information about the ISIS network behind the Paris attacks, its financing and plans.
They believe he helped with logistics, including renting rooms and driving suicide bombers to the Stade de France.
Salah Abdeslam is believed to have fled shortly after the attacks, returning to the Molenbeek district of Brussels.
Interpol has meanwhile urged “extra vigilance” at borders following yesterday’s raid in Brussels, saying more accomplices may try to flee Europe.
The subject of a massive manhunt, Salah Abdeslam was arrested about 1,600ft from his home in Molenbeek. His brother, Brahim, was one of the Paris attackers, who blew himself up.
Another man arrested at the same time as Salah Abdeslam on March 18, Monir Ahmed Alaaj, has also been charged with participation in terrorist murder and the activities of a terrorist group, the Belgian prosecutors say.
Yesterday’s raid also saw three members of a family detained.
They include Abid Aberkan, described as a friend of Abdeslam, who has been charged with participation in the activities of a terrorist organization and harboring criminals.
Another family member, identified as Djemila M, has been charged with harboring criminals, but is not in custody, the prosecutor’s office says.
Abid Aberkan’s mother, Sihane, has been freed and faces no charges.
The raid came after Salah Abdeslam’s fingerprints were found in a flat in another Brussels district, Forest, raided on March 15.
Dramatic footage showed Salah Abdeslam being bundled into a police car on March 18 after a volley of gunfire. Monir Ahmed Alaaj was also injured during the arrests, but both suspects were discharged from hospital on March 19.
France’s President Francois Hollande said Salah Abdeslam’s arrest was “an important moment”.
Prosecutors said Monir Ahmed Alaaj had travelled with Salah Abdeslam to Germany last October, where his fingerprints were taken during an identity check.
A false Syrian passport in Monir Ahmed Alaaj’s name and Belgian identity papers under an alias were found in a flat in Forest raided on March 15.
More details have meanwhile emerged about an Algerian national, Mohamed Belkaid, shot dead in March 15 raid.
Associated Press says it has been passed documents by the Syrian opposition news site, Zaman al-Wasl, suggesting he joined ISIS in 2014 and asked to be a suicide bomber.
Belgian investigators say he is likely to have been an associate of Salah Abdeslam.
Along with the Stade de France, the Paris bombings and shootings targeted the Bataclan concert hall and bars and restaurants.
Officials have identified most of the people they believe to have carried out the assaults and on March 18 Francois Hollande predicted that more arrests could follow.
Most of the suspects either died during the attacks or were killed in subsequent police raids.
American rock band Eagles of Death Metal has announced the new dates of the European tour following last month’s Paris attacks.
Eagles of Death Metal were playing a gig at the Bataclan concert hall when gunmen stormed the building killing 90 people on November 13.
The band returned to Paris last week to play a song with U2 and will play the city’s Olympia Theater in February.
Jesse Hughes said: “The people of Paris have always been incredible to us… not returning to finish our set was never an option.”
Photo EODM Facebook
Fans who were at the Bataclan show on November 13 will be entitled to a free ticket for the rescheduled date at the Olympia on February 16.
The Bataclan concert hall will not be open again in time for the band’s return.
In his statement, Jesse Hughes – who paid his respects outside the venue on his return to Paris earlier this month – said: “Our feeling of love towards this beautiful city and its people has been reinforced a million times over this past month.
“Hearing the stories of the survivors, the injured and those who have lost loved ones has been overwhelming. Not returning to finish our set was never an option.
“We look forward to coming back in February and continuing our mission to bring rock ‘n’ roll to the world.”
EODM wrote on the band’s Facebook page: “We are proud to announce that our rescheduled European tour — now called ‘The Nos Amis Tour’ — will begin on February 13th. And we cannot wait to see your beautiful faces.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, was near the Bataclan concert hall during a siege there, French prosecutors say.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said mobile phone data also showed Abdelhamid Abaaoud returned to cafes and restaurants targeted in the attacks.
France’s general prosecutor added there was evidence that Abdelhamid Abaaoud was planning an attack on Paris’s La Defense business district.
Meanwhile an arrest warrant was issued in Belgium for a man named Mohamed Abrini over the attacks.
Francois Molins gave more details of the raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis in which Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed.
As well as Abdelhamid Abaaoud and his cousin Hasna Ait Boulahcen, a third unidentified man died in that raid. Francois Molins said it is believed he was the third attacker in the team that attacked bars and restaurants in the 10th and 11th arrondissements.
Jawad Bendaoud, the man who lent the Saint-Denis flat, has been put under formal investigation for “criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist enterprise”.
Also on November 24, Belgian prosecutors said that two days before the attacks, new suspect Mohamed Abrini was seen driving a car with suspect Salah Abdeslam at a petrol station on the highway to Paris.
Mohamed Abrini is described as “dangerous and probably armed”.
Salah Abdeslam is currently the subject of an international manhunt after the attacks which killed 130 people.
The Renault Clio that Mohamed Abrini was seen driving was later used in the attacks, prosecutors say.
Police say he should not be approached by the public.
Belgian prosecutors also said on November 24 that they have also partially identified two other men who have been taken into custody.
They are under suspicion – in the words of a statement – of “participating in the activities of a terrorist group”, and “acts of terrorist murder”.
The men, named as Ali O and Lazez A, are both from the Brussels district of Molenbeek, and both will appear separately in court during the course of this week.
Paris public museums and tourist sites have reopened following the attacks in the French capital on November 13.
Many of Paris’s tourist attractions, including the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, closed on Saturday amid heightened security.
The institutions reopened at 13:00 local time following a minute’s silence to honor those who were killed.
A total of 129 people died in the attacks by Islamist militants.
People were targeted in bars and restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France.
In explaining the decision to reopen the venues, France’s Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said although France had suffered a tragic event, “culture is more than ever this symbolic place of self-discovery”.
Fleur Pellerin added the government would help to boost security measures at public cultural institutions in Ile-de-France, the region immediately surrounding Paris.
Its landmarks include the Louvre, which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting, as well as the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Theaters were also ordered to close following the attacks, but most reopened on November 15.
Paris attacks on November 13 reportedly occurred at multiple sites across the French capital.
Bataclan concert hall, 50 boulevard Voltaire, 11th district – gun and suicide bomb attacks
Le Bataclan is an old 19th-century variety theatre that in recent years has been run as a rock venue. It’s located on the boundary between two hip, densely populated neighborhoods full of bars, restaurants, and cafés that would likely have been very busy at the time of the attack.
Stade de France, 93216 St Denis, just north of Paris – explosions near venue as France played Germany in soccer friendly match
Built for the 1998 World Cup, the Stade de France is France’s largest stadium, a huge venue seating more than 80,000 that dominates the Saint Denis Quarter. The location itself is just outside Paris Proper beyond the Boulevard Périphérique Beltway, in a lightly populated quarter dominated by major roads. In contrast to the other attack locations closer to central Paris, the commune of Saint Denis is a relatively low-income area where over 35 percent of residents were not born in France.
Le Carillon bar, 18 rue Alibert, 10th district – gun attack
Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge are a café-bar and a Cambodian restaurant, respectively, that are located directly opposite one of the city’s oldest hospitals, the Hôpital Saint-Louis. These aren’t especially fancy or controversial places in themselves. They’re fairly typical of the area around the Canal Saint Martin, a traditionally working class area of Paris that has become fashionable in recent decades.
The Belle Équipe brasserie is located on one of the busier café and restaurant strips of Eastern Paris. Rue Charonne is one of the main streets in the Bastille neighborhood, an area now almost equally as popular with visitors as with locals. The brasserie itself is a moderately upscale place typical of its area.
La Casa Nostrarestaurant, 2 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11th district – gun attack