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The Bombing One Year Later

Victims of Paris violence continue to struggle with the long-term aftermath.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Immediately following the tragic attack on Bataclan concert hall in Paris, PE News received an open letter from an Assemblies of God church nearby the incident. This was soon followed by a call to prayer from the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. 

A year ago, on Nov. 13, 2015, coordinated bombing attacks by the Islamic State rocked trendy Paris neighborhoods and other crowded areas such as a football stadium and Bataclan concert hall. A total of 130 people were killed in the explosions.

Parisian authorities marked the one-year anniversary of the attacks this Nov. 13 with somber ceremonies and the unveiling of plaques at various sites where lives were lost.

Survivors of the attacks are now considered victims of war.

Life for Paris, a group of 700 survivors, seeks to aid other survivors, many of whom lost loved ones in the attacks, by providing support from others who understand fully the horrors of that night.

“We need to take care of the survivors,” Life for Paris President Caroline Langlade told French news site france24.com. “Trauma is now deeply rooted in our flesh. It might be there forever. Be patient with us, and kind. Because tomorrow it could happen to you.”

Survivors from attack sites now wrestle with ongoing medical problems as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. Many “forgotten” victims suffer as well. Their apartments were destroyed during a dramatic six-hour standoff between French special forces and the terrorists. Some 45 families were affected by the raid.

Several residents were hit by stray bullets. Nearly all of them lost their homes as a result of the raid. Many are still living in temporary housing and have found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy.

In the wake of the Paris 2015 tragedy, Assemblies of God World missionaries and French churches have remained active in prayer for their communities and have supported recovery by various means. As many search for answers, the church stands strong to point them to Christ as healer, defender, restorer, and the source of comfort in any area of crisis.

“One year after the attacks in Paris, our hearts still ache,” says AGWM Northwest Europe area director Tim Southerland.

But the tragedy has also brought about greater awareness of the spiritual need in France.

“Our hearts are also excited about the four new career missionaries who have approached AGWM with a calling to serve France,” Southerland says.

Kristel Zelaya

Kristel Zelaya is a freelance writer and editor with global experience. She served as marketing manager for Assemblies of God U.S. Missions and as a writer and editor for Assemblies of God World Missions. These experiences have led her to numerous countries and cultures — far from beaten paths — on behalf of many who did not know how deeply their stories matter. Zelaya is also a licensed Assemblies of God minister.