The main suspect in the November 2015 Paris attacks that claimed the lives of 130 people has told a court that there was nothing "personal" against those killed.
“We fought France, we attacked France, we targeted the civilian population. It was nothing personal against them,” he told the trial.
He sought to justify the attacks as retaliation for French military action against Islamic State jihadists.
"I know my statement may be shocking, but it is not to dig the knife deeper in the wound but to be sincere towards those who are suffering immeasurable grief," he said.
His remarks caused upset among the survivors and victims' relatives in court, with some reportedly crying and hugging as he spoke for four to five minutes.
George Salines, whose daughter Lola was among the 90 dead inside the Bataclan, refused to accept Abdeslam’s rationale. "To explain that what we wanted to target was France and not individual persons- right, except it was people who were injured and killed, innocent people, targeted voluntarily. It’s morally unacceptable," he said.
Nine IS gunmen and suicide bombers struck within minutes of one another at several Paris locations on November 13 2015.
The group targeted fans at the national soccer stadium and cafe-goers before descending on the Bataclan concert hall.
It was the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II and among the worst terror attacks to hit the West.
Although there are 20 defendants on trial, Abdeslam is the chief suspect and only 13 others are in court.
Most of the others are assumed to be dead.
After his suicide vest malfunctioned on the night of the attacks, he fled to his hometown of Brussels.
On Wednesday, a screen in the courtroom showed a photo of the car Abdeslam abandoned in northern Paris after he dropped off the three suicide bombers at the stadium.
The two people Abdeslam called upon to drive through the night from Brussels to Paris to pick him up are among the 20 on trial.
Six of those are being tried in absentia. Among those on trial in Paris is Mohammed Abrini, who left the city the night before the 2015 attacks and took part in the Brussels one. He acknowledged a role on Wednesday.
The trial is scheduled to last nine months.