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Student survivors react to Paris attacks

Fusion’s Jorge Ramos was in Paris hours after the City of Lights was attacked by what we now know were ISIS militants, leaving at least 120 people dead and hundreds injured.

He spoke to some of the youngest survivors—both local and American students—about their reactions to the horrific chain of events that took place late last Friday night. The students said that while at first it felt like a random attack that caught the city by surprise, it very quickly became clear to them just how coordinated and planned it all was, and that they were the target.

“The people who were targeted were young people. They were young, liberal-minded Parisians—local people—who were targeted,” Cristal Torres, an American student studying abroad in Paris, told Ramos. “We were staying not in the touristic part of Paris, we were staying where the locals stay.”

Vincent Martichou, a Parisian student, offered his thoughts on what makes terrorists susceptible to extremist ideologies.

“I think a lot of young people in France and in other countries have personal issues, are in difficult situations, and if they don’t find people to talk to and to help them, they might turn to more extremist groups like the terrorists,” he told Ramos. “So I think that’s how they can turn into that mindset where they see other French, young people as an enemy with radical, different values.”

Martichou’s comment touches on the same point that many Somali-Americans living in Minnesota—a hotbed for terrorist recruitment in the U.S.—openly spoke about with Fusion in an exclusive report called ISIS in America.

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