Terrified eyewitnesses share footage of Paris attack aftermath (VIDEOS)
One of the earliest videos to emerge appears to have been filmed just opposite of the spot where shooting took place, in front of Marks & Spencer store on Champs Elysees. A parked car can be seen near the police van, from which the attacker reportedly came out before going on a shooting spree. Armed figures can be seen moving and one of them appears to fall down, but it is unclear who the pictured persons are. The video has been making rounds on social media, but the source of the footage was not immediately known.
Another video was shot by an Arab man inside a café near the site of the incident. The man, who goes on Twitter as @mohanadalnoaimi, filmed in the immediate aftermath of the shooting as he was lying on a floor. The visitors of the café can also be seen taking cover under tables. Police cars can be seen rushing to the scene of the shooting on the opposite side of the street.
Footage uploaded by @GrapeEscapeTV, which was apparently shot from one of the top floors of the multi-story building, depicts the arrival of multiple police cars to Champs Elysees as loud noise of police sirens can be heard in the background.
A shaky footage posted on Twitter by @aljufairi_h shows him apparently running away from the site of the incident, struggling to catch a breath. While some pedestrians appear to go at a regular pace, the others are rushing to escape the area. Armed police can be seen moving in the opposite direction, towards the scene of the shooting.
The overwhelming presence of police cars at Champ Elysees, which brought traffic to deadlock, can be seen in the footage by @vanderpauw.
'Paris is always like that now'
A witness, who identified himself to Reuters as Chelloug, said that he was meters away from the shooting when it happened.
"He [the attacker] parked just behind the van and he got out with a Kalashnikov, and I heard six gunshots. I thought they were firecrackers, because we all looked around the road and there was no-one,” Chelloug said.
But after one of the officers, who opened the van’s door, fell down after being shot by the attacker, Chelloug said they ran for safety.
"As soon as we saw that, we all ran back inside the Alain Affelou shop. We hid and I went up to the first floor and we saw them [police officers] shoot him [the gunman],” he said, Chelloug added that while he and other witnesses feared the attacker will start shooting at random at pedestrians, he appeared to be focused on killing the policemen.
Another eyewitness, 39-year-old woman, who was inside a café when the incident was unfolding, recalled the frantic scenes caused by panic that spread instantly among the dining guests, including the foreign tourists.
“People ran, jostled and banged at the tables,” she told AFP.
A young woman, who was also inside the premises at the time of the attack, said the people were effectively trapped inside the café until the firefighters helped them to escape.
"The waiters told us to leave and evacuate from the back of the restaurant, but there was no exit, so we had to hide in the backyard," she said.
Another eyewitness said that he was so horrified by the sight of people lying on the ground and others running in disarray from the scene that he fled without paying his restaurant bill.
"I heard shots, I went to see what it was, I saw people on the ground, at least two bodies, and people running around, shouting. I was scared, I left, I did not even pay my bill!” he said.
While the terrorism-related attacks are getting increasingly more common in France, a tourist couple with whom AFP spoke said the incident will not discourage them from showing Paris to their teenage children.
"Paris is always like that now. We do not want to be afraid,” Maud and Wilfried Deneau said.
Meanwhile, videos allegedly showing one of the ongoing raids in the suburbs of Paris have appeared on Twitter.