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  1. ITV Report

Father of Bataclan gunman tried to rescue him from Syria

Emergency services on the scene after the Bataclan massacre. Credit: Reuters

The father of one of the gunmen who killed dozens of concert-goers in the Bataclan massacre had tried unsuccessfully last year to bring his son back from Syria where he had joined so-called Islamic State.

Mohamed Amimour, 67, set out on a private family mission to rescue his son from the Syrian town on Minbej, near Aleppo, in June 2014.

He told the French newspaper Le Monde afterwards how he had been greeted with coldness and “a distant sort of smile”.

Samy Amimour, 28, who was born in Drancy, a north-eastern suburb of Paris, has been identified as one of the attackers at the Bataclan theatre.

He wore a suicide vest and blew himself up on Friday evening as French police closed in.

When Mohamed Amimour returned from his attempted rescue mission last year, he told the newspaper how he had failed to persuade Samy to return home and rebuild his life.

He crossed the Turkish border near Gaziantep in a minibus and was driven south to Minbej, where he first saw the black Isis flags.

At the first checkpoint there was a man with a Kalashnikov. My travelling companions applauded. My passport was taken. The new jihadi recruits were greeted by a crowd of bearded men with cries of ‘Allahu akbar’.”

– Amimour

The next day, Amimour was reunited with his son. He described Samy as having a “distant sort of smile”.

He was with another man who never left us alone. Our reunion was very cold. [My son] didn’t invite me back to his lodgings, he didn’t say how he had been wounded nor whether he had been fighting... One of my son’s colleagues showed me a film where they themselves killed men at close quarters. I saw horrible images. I was sickened.

– Amimour

Amimour crossed back over the Syrian-Turkish border two days later and flew home from Istanbul. He was not debriefed by the police.

He later learned that his son had married and changed his name to Abu Hajia.

“I don’t want him to stay down there for the rest of his life,” he told Le Monde last year.

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