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Belfast academic hid in stranger's home while gunman prowled outside

By Erinn Kerr

Published 14/11/2015

Police survey the area of Boulevard Baumarchais
Police survey the area of Boulevard Baumarchais

An Ulster University professor who was in Paris last night said he had to "hide in an entry" to stay safe.

Professor Paddy Gray tweeted from the Place de la Republique of "being told someone still out there with a gun".

Prof Gray, from Belfast, was caught up in the terrorist attack but was taken in to a stranger's house with six other people.

He said: "Thanks everyone for the messages, been taken into a kind gentleman's house with six other people but safe."

James Kerr, BBC NI's former business editor, was also in Paris last night.

He told the BBC he was at the Stade De France watching the France and Germany friendly football match when he heard two or three explosions.

He said: "It was as though someone had got some fireworks into the stadium.

"We had no idea it was anything more serious than that.

"I know very little about what has happened, we are just trying to stay safe and doing what we are told by the security services."

A man who was near Rue de Charonne said the scene was absolutely catastrophic.

He said: "I worked in hospitals, I studied medicine, and I've never seen anything like it. Me and my son ran back to get some help, and literally ran into a number of bodies.

"It was carnage. People were lying dead on the floor, badly hurt and screaming. I'll never forget it."

Eyewitness Ben Grant said he was in a bar with his wife when the gunshots were fired and he had seen six or seven bodies on the ground.

He told the BBC: "I was told people in cars had opened fire on the bar.

"There are lots of dead people. It's pretty horrific to be honest.

"I was at the back of the bar. I couldn't see anything.

"I heard gunshots. People dropped to the ground. We put a table over our heads to protect us.

"We were held up in the bar because there was a pile of bodies in front of us."

Former CIA director R James Woolsey said France was being punished for supporting the fight against extremism.

He told BBC News: "The fact that France has been a good ally of the US and Britain in this struggle with Isis has worked to France's detriment.

"I think there is a very good chance that a flow of refugees, war refugees, out of the Middle East and especially out of Syria has created the background which makes something like what we're seeing here possible."

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