Paris attacks: France holds service two weeks after massacre

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Media captionWatch key moments from the memorial service

France has held a national memorial service for the 130 people who died in the Paris attacks two weeks ago.

Some 2,600 people attended the service in central Paris, including President Francois Hollande, survivors of the attacks and victims' families.

A minute's silence was held and the names of all the victims read out.

Attackers with assault rifles and suicide belts targeted a number of sites in the capital. Islamic State later said it was behind the assault.

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Media captionFlag tributes to the victims of the Paris attacks

In pictures: Paris remembers with flags

What happened on the night

Who were the victims?

Who were the attackers?

Some of the survivors who attended were in wheelchairs, while members of the fire and ambulance services wore uniforms for the 45-minute ceremony in the courtyard of the historic Les Invalides complex.

In his speech, President Hollande said France would "do all it can to destroy this army of fanatics".

"It will operate relentlessly to protect its children." he said.

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Media captionPresident Francois Hollande: "Their laughter, we'll never hear again"

He vowed that France would respond with more music, concerts and sporting events, after some of the attacks targeted a concert venue and a stadium.

Among those attending the service were the parents of British victim Nick Alexander, who said that they were now "intrinsically linked" to those who had also lost loved ones.

"The outpouring of love from around the world has been a great comfort to us and makes us even more proud to have had Nick as our son," they added.


At the scene: Thomas Fessy, BBC News, Paris

It started with a song that said it all: "When all we have is love." The lyrics of the iconic singer Jacques Brel echoed through the Court of Honour of the Invalides - a place where the French nation delivers its highest tributes to heroes and casualties of war.

There was a silent pause and the names of those who lost their lives were read out. We heard their age too - most of them in their twenties or thirties. It was a long and painful listen as portraits were screened in the courtyard.

Francois Hollande was the only speaker - he gave a brief and simple address, in which he paid tribute to the "130 smiles and faces" of the victims.


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Image caption Survivors of the attacks were among the 2,600 people who attended the ceremony
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Francois Hollande's brief address paid tribute to the "130 smiles and faces" of the victims
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some people attended the makeshift shrine for the Bataclan victims
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Balloons hang from balconies in Marseille, reflecting the boost in patriotic feeling
Image copyright AP
Image caption The sale of French flags has also boomed

Announcers read out the names and ages of all 130 victims, from 39-year-old Stephane Albertini to 37-year-old Stella Verry.

However, not all the victims' families accepted the invitation to attend the service at the grand complex that houses a military museum and Napoleon's tomb.

The family of one victim told French media they had refused, saying not enough had been done to protect the nation in the wake of other attacks earlier this year.

President Hollande has this week embarked on a diplomatic push to increase support for the fight against IS militants.

He flew to Washington to meet President Barack Obama, then met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian PM Matteo Renzi before travelling for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where more coordination on air strikes and intelligence was agreed.


Cooperation with the regime? Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris

Is France signalling an important shift in policy on Syria? That is the question after the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius spoke on French radio this morning.

Mr Fabius said France's aim was to destroy Raqqa, the self-declared capital of IS in Syria. For that, bombing was needed, he said, but also ground forces. France would not provide ground troops, he added, so the fighting would have to be done by the Syrian opposition, Sunni Arab armies, and, controversially, the regime forces of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

As international news wires hummed, Mr Fabius rowed back slightly. In a "clarification", he said the participation of Syrian government forces would only be possible within the framework of a political transition. In other words, only once there was agreement on the eventual departure of Assad.

But it remains a significant development for the French to say that government troops may form part of their plan for destroying IS. As for the practicality of Syrian troops cooperating with the Syrian opposition, that is another matter.


On Friday, France said for the first time that Syrian government forces could contribute to a ground campaign against IS.

Syria quickly welcomed the suggestion, although French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius later clarified the forces could only take part if a process was under way leading to the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a series of co-ordinated attacks on 13 November, gunmen opened fire on restaurants and bars in Paris and stormed a concert hall, where 89 people were shot dead.

Three more attackers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, after staff denied them entry to a football match between France and Germany.

More than 350 people were injured in the attacks - the worst in recent French history.

The unanswered questions

Is bashing Belgium justified?

At least nine people are believed to have been directly involved in carrying out the latest attacks.

They are all dead, but two more men, including suspect Salah Abdeslam, are still on the run as a huge manhunt continues in France and Belgium.

Some of the attackers - including suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who died in a police raid in Paris last week - had lived in Brussels.

On Friday, a Belgian judge charged a sixth suspect there with offences in connection with the Paris attacks. He was charged with "terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation".

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