One of the hostages trapped inside Bataclan concert hall by ISIS terrorists has told of the most terrifying two-and-a-half hours of his life.
Stéphane T, 39, was on the balcony when the terrorists burst in, first mistaking the bangs for firecrackers – until the screams began.
He saw the terrorists holding Kalashnikovs but could only listen as they fired, reloading again and again. When they came upstairs, rather than firing on them, the attackers took him and about a dozen others into a corridor where they told them: “We will not kill you, follow us. You can thank President Hollande, because it’s thanks to him that you must suffer this.”
Stéphane was placed as a human shield in a window overlooking the street and was told to inform the terrorists if he saw any police. He stayed there for two hours.
The terrorists wanted to use the hostages to pass messages to police and when they found out two of the hostages were a couple they told them one must go out to speak to police and if the person didn’t return, they would kill their partner.
Stephane told French publication L’Humanite:
They were very determined, a bit elated too. At one point one of the them fired the Kalachnikov in the road and said: “Yes I got one, he was on the telephone.” They were very satisfied with what they were doing. They asked the hostages near the door to describe what they heard outside: “We can hear people moaning and that’s it. Some are calling out for help.” They didn’t laugh, but almost. They said: “Good for you, it’s like our women and children in Syria.”
At 12.30pm police burst in with a vast riot shield. The lights went out and police threw stun grenades. Stéphane felt an explosion at his feet and fell down. He saw one of the terrorists with his hand on a detonator but, said Stéphane, he didn’t press it ‘and I don’t know why not’.
The police then shouted at him to get up, checked he wasn’t wearing a suicide vest and told him to get onto the balcony. As he left he saw “a pile of bodies, dead bodies on top of each other, blood everywhere. It was terrible”.
At six in the morning, after hours of police questioning, Stéphane was allowed to go home, but without his mobile phone he couldn’t call anyone to pick him up.
Instead he got on the Metro. With his torn shirt and blanket, concerned passengers asked if he was ok. “Yes, I guess so,” he replied.