Screaming In Arabic As Burqa Gets Caught In Escalator, Veiled Shopper Prompts Stampede From French Mall
Shoppers mistake cries of djellaba-clad woman for terrorist attack.
Panic ensued Thursday evening in the French city of Montpellier after a women in North African garb began screaming in Arabic as her garment became trapped in a shopping mall escalator.
Local media report that the startled woman’s cries set off a chain reaction which saw shoppers flee towards the exits of the southern beach city’s Polygone Shopping complex, believing a jihadist attack to be underway.
Upon seeing dozens flee from the veiled woman, other shoppers became panicked and themselves fled, resulting in a terrified stampede from the mall towards Montpellier’s Place de la Comédie, according to police. A police statement noted that several witnesses believed they heard the distressed woman cry, ”Allahu Akbar”, a slogan often heard during Islamic terror attacks.
“I heard the yelling, then I saw the customers bolt towards the main exit and the emergency exits, and I did the same thing”, one eye-witness explained to local news outlet, Le Metropolitain.
Thursday evening’s panic was described by one observer as a mundane incident which led to the unfolding of surreal scenes in the popular shopping mall. Normality resumed quickly afterwards, local media report, with no injuries having occurred.
Whilst short-lived, the unlikely drama speaks of rattled nerves and a larger climate of insecurity in France;
In February 2017, an ”imminent” terrorist attack was thwarted in the city following the arrest of a local jihadist network, whilst in March of this year, three people were killed in jihadist attacks in Carcassonne and Trèbes, both in the same region.
According to French counter terrorism agencies, the foiled 2017 attack involved a three person group on the verge of launching suicide bombings at a touristic site in Paris and an unspecified target in Montpellier. Explosives recovered from a make-shift laboratory in a suburb of the city were intended for use in a suicide vest, investigators revealed, following anti-terror raids in the region last spring.
Photos for illustration: Suavelos.eu