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Paris attacks victims sue over soldiers' non-intervention at Bataclan

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Emergency services tend to victims of the Bataclan attack REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Vctims and relatives of victims of the 2015 Paris attacks has filed a legal complaint for non-assistance to people in danger because a group of soldiers were ordered not to enter the Bataclan concert hall as 90 people were massacred and hundreds more kept hostage inside.


About 30 victims and relatives have joined the case, filed by lawyers Jean Sannier, Océane Bimbeau and Samia Maktouf on Friday.

They want to know why eight soldiers, who were part of the Sentinelle anti-terror operation launched after the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks, stood by as armed jihadists murder 90 people, even though they were among the first security forces to arrive at the scene.

Although they had assault rifles and the attackers were armed with Kalashnikovs, it was police, who only had handguns, who intervened at the Bataclan.

A police commissioner and a driver were the first to enter the building, killing one of the attackers, with elite anti-terror police arriving two hours later.

The French state must "clarify the mission of operation Sentinelle", Bimbeau told the AFP news agency.

Not in war zone

A police officer told a parliamentary commission on the attacks that he had asked for permission for the soldiers to intervene but it had been denied because "we're not in a war zone".

One soldier told him he could not open fire without receiving an order to do so and the soldiers refused to lend their weapons to the police because of military regulations.

They were also told not to lend medical equipment, according to another lawyer, Samia Maktouf.

The military governor of Paris, General Bruno Le Ray, told the commission that it had been "unthinkable to put soldiers in danger in the hypothetical hope of saving some other people", a remark described as "as cold and violent as it is unacceptable", the lawyers say in a statement.