Paris: At least one of the terrorists outside France’s national soccer stadium had a ticket and tried to enter the packed venue before he was detected and he blew himself up.
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The account came from a security guard at the stadium, where President Francois Hollande was among some 80,000 people watching a France-Germany match.
The guard, who asked to be identified only by his first name Zouheir, said the attacker was discovered wearing an explosives vest when he was frisked at the entrance to the stadium about 15 minutes into the game.
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While attempting to back away from security, Zouheir said, the attacker detonated the vest, which was loaded with explosives and bolts, according to Paris prosecutor François Molins. Zouheir, stationed by the players’ tunnel, said he was briefed on the sequence by the security frisking team at the gate.
A police officer confirmed the sequence, adding that police suspect the attacker aimed to detonate his vest inside the stadium in order to provoke a deadly stampede.
France’s President Francois Hollande is pictured in the security control room at the Stade de France stadium during the international friendly soccer match between France and Germany. Pic/PTI
Around three minutes later, a second person also blew himself up outside the stadium.
Security personnel immediately whisked President Hollande away from the stadium. The President later declared a state of emergency, and ordered curfew in Paris for the first time since World War II. A third suicide attacker detonated explosives at a nearby McDonald’s, police said. One civilian died in the attacks, police said.
“The account sheds light on why the suicide attacks on Stade de France failed to cause the carnage that occurred at the Bataclan concert hall and restaurants across Paris.”
Some 130 people were killed and over 350 injured, many critically, when seven terrorists linked to the Islamic State went on a killing spree in the French capital on Friday night.
The blasts occurred during the first half of the game.
At first, Zouheir said he too thought the early blast was a firecracker. Then his walkie-talkie came alive with chatter, and he noticed that Hollande was being ushered out of the stadium.
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