A Paris concert hall where Islamic State militants killed and injured scores of people has long been a target of anti-Zionist radicals, Jewish and French media reported Saturday. The Bataclan theater where ISIS fighters held dozens of hostages Friday night was Jewish-owned for decades, but was sold two months ago, its former owners said.
The theater often hosted pro-Israel events that drew fierce opposition, including last month’s conference of approximately 500 Christian Zionists. The extremist group Army of Islam told French security services in 2011 that, “We had planned an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jews.”
Pascal Laloux, one of the theater’s former owners, told reporters Saturday the theater was “sold in September after 40 years.” “We’re devastated because we knew everyone who worked there,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 news. His brother Joel, the co-owner, told Channel 2 that he had recently moved to Israel. He said he took a call from the theater at the time of the attack “and I could hear the gunfire.” He added: “There is blood everywhere. It will take three days just to clean that up.”
More than 100 people were killed Friday night at the venue during a rock concert after the terrorists randomly shot victims while shouting “Allahu akbar!” The Eagles of Death Metal, the band performing when the attacks began, played in Tel Aviv’s Barby club in July.
The Eiffel Tower was dark Saturday night as France struggled to recover from its deadliest attack since World War II. The coordinated gun-and-suicide bombing attacks across Paris left at least 129 people dead and 352 injured. President Francois Hollande vowed that France would wage "merciless" war against the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the killings. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said three groups of attackers, including seven suicide bombers, carried out the "act of barbarism."