'I am a fighter for Isis': Paris attack suspect's chilling response to French judge

8 September 2021, 18:11 | Updated: 8 September 2021, 18:13

The prime suspect in the 2015 Paris attack has appeared in court
The prime suspect in the 2015 Paris attack has appeared in court. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The prime suspect in the 2015 Paris attacks opened his trial by telling a court his job is "a fighter for Islamic State".

Salah Abdeslam is one of 20 men accused of being involved in the jihadist massacre, which killed 130 people and injured hundreds more.

The attackers, an Isis network, used guns and bombs to attack restaurants, bars, the Stade de France stadium and the Bataclan concert hall.

Authorities believe Abdeslam, 31, is the only member of the group that carried out the November 2015 assault to survive.

Wearing all black, he was asked his profession as he appeared in a purpose-built courtroom in Paris, where security is on high alert to protect proceedings.

The Associated Press reports he told the court he is a "fighter for Islamic State" after a prayer.

One of the accused arrives in court
One of the accused arrives in court. Picture: Alamy

He has so far refused to speak to investigators about the attack, frustrating efforts to learn more about who was behind the attack. His brother was one of the suicide bombers.

A total of 19 other men are also accused of being involved, by providing weapons or cars or by helping with organisation.

The same cell is also accused of killing 32 people in Brussels in 2016.

The judge, Jean-Louis Peries, said: "The events that we are about to decide are inscribed in their historic intensity as among the international and national events of this century."

The trial is expected to run for nine months, with September focusing on police evidence.

Former president Francois Hollande, who was in power when the attack happened, is also set to testify in the trial.