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Hundreds gather at French consulate in Vietnam to pray for terror attack victims

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 17:05 GMT+7
Hundreds gather at French consulate in Vietnam to pray for terror attack victims

Hundreds of people, mostly French nationals, have gathered at the French Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City to pray for the victims of the terror attacks in Paris on November 13.

Shocked and outraged by the deadly terrorist acts, many of the French community in the city arrived at the consulate to leave notes, lay flowers, and pay their respects to the victims of the shooting and bombing assaults on Saturday.

The French Consulate General opened at 3:00 pm that day to allow people to get in for their prayer.

People stood in a long queue, cried and expressed their shock over the events grieving their country and relatives.

Carl Maybry, a British teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, burst into tears saying he felt empty after the “horrific and evil attacks.”

“My friends in France are all safe, but now they are really scared. They [the terrorists] are cruel and crazy. It's inhumane,” he said.

Babker Benseddiq, of French nationality, said his feeling was like seeing someone destroy his home, as all the locations involved were very familiar to him.

“Vietnam is one of the safest countries that I have ever visited,” Benseddiq said, adding that both he and his girlfriend feel safer living in Ho Chi Minh City than other European nations.

In a short interview with local media on November 14, Consul General of France Emmanuel Ly-Batallan expressed his belief that the French people are strong enough to overcome this difficult period, and his country will continue to fight against terrorists.

The French Consulate General continues to open for visits from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on November 16 and 17.

On the afternoon of November 16, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Le Hoang Quan and representatives of the Chinese, Singaporean, and Thai consulate generals also visited the French consulate and left notes to pray for the victims.

A group of gunmen and bombers carried out a series of armed attacks on restaurants, a concert hall and a sports stadium at locations across Paris on Friday, killing at least 129 people and wounding 352 others, of whom 99 were said to be in a critical condition, according to Reuters.

Bataclan Theater suffered worst as three gunmen shot dead at least 89 people at a rock concert by an American band before detonating their explosive belts, the British news agency added.

Some 40 more people were killed in five other attacks in the Paris region, including a double suicide bombing outside the Stade de France stadium, where French President Hollande was watching a football friendly between France and Germany.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Saturday for the attacks, saying it sent militants strapped with suicide bombing belts and carrying machine guns to various locations in the heart of the French capital, Reuters reported.

President Hollande called the coordinated assaults on Friday night an "act of war" by the Islamic State, according to AFP.

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