Paris attacks: Witnesses tell of bloodbath at concert; gunmen blame French ops in Syria

People wearing survival blankets walk by a rescuer near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, early on Nov 14, 2015.
People wearing survival blankets walk by a rescuer near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, early on Nov 14, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - A French radio reporter who was inside the Bataclan theatre that came under attack on Friday (Nov 13) gave a harrowing account of the "10 horrific minutes" when black-clothed gunmen wielding AK-47s entered and fired calmly and randomly at hundreds of screaming concertgoers.  Another witness said he heard gunmen blaming French President Francois Hollande for the country's involvement in Syria.

"It was a bloodbath," Mr Julien Pierce, a reporter for France's Europe 1 radio station, told CNN.

"People yelled, screamed and everybody lying on the floor, and it lasted for 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head(s)."

"We heard so many gunshots and the terrorists were very calm, very determined and they reloaded three or four times their weapons and they didn't shout anything. They didn't say anything."

Mr Pierce recounted seeing 20 to 25 bodies on the floor and others very badly injured.

Police sources later said at least 100 people were killed at the attack on the concert venue.

Another witness said gunmen shouting "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) fired into the terrified crowd who had gathered to watch a concert by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan theatre in eastern Paris on Friday night.

Mr Pierce said he was lucky to be near the front of the stage as the gunmen, wearing black clothes and wielding AK-47s, opened fire.

"People started to try to escape to walk on people on the floor and try to find the exits, and I found an exit when the terrorists reloaded their guns in the meantime, and I climbed on the stage and we found an exit."

The journalist said he took a teenage girl who was bleeding heavily and carried her to a taxi where he told the driver to take her to hospital.

He said that as he was speaking to CNN some of his friends were still hiding inside the theatre.

"They are hiding in some kind of room in the dark and they text me, and they are very afraid, of course, and they are waiting for the police to intervene, but it's been over two hours now and this is terrible."

Later in the night, the police stormed the venue. Three suspected assailants were shot dead during the assault.

Mr Pierce said he saw the face of one of the gunmen, who was probably 20 to 25 years old.

Asked if he could hear what language they were speaking, he replied: "Nothing. I heard nothing, just the yelling and screaming of the people. They didn't shout anything. They didn't say anything. They said nothing. They just shot. They just shoot. They were just shooting at people."

"What happened was terrible. I mean, honestly, 15 minutes, 10 minutes of gunshots firing randomly in a small concert room. I mean, it's not a huge concert room. It's a small one. Two thousand people were there maximum and it was - it was horrible."

Toon, a 22 year-old messenger, who lives near the Bataclan was going into the concert hall with two friends at around 10.30pm when he saw three young men dressed in black and armed with machine guns. He stayed outside.

One of the gunmen began firing into the crowd. "People were falling like dominos," he told Reuters. He said he saw people shot in the leg, shoulder, back and several people lying on the floor apparently dead.

Another witness, Mr Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter, was sitting in the balconies with his sister and friends, when they heard shots from below about one hour into the show.

"At first we thought it was part of the show but we quickly understood. They were three I think and they were just firing into the crowd.

"They were armed with big guns, I imagine kalashnikovs, it was a hell of a noise. They didn't stop firing."

"There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. We heard screaming. Everyone was trying to flee."

"They had 20 hostages, and we could hear them talking with them," said Mr Janaszak, who was hiding with several others in the toilet.

"I clearly heard them say 'It's the fault of Hollande, it's the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria'. They also spoke about Iraq."