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Friday, November 27, 2015
Brave Paris terror attack survivors pictured on stretchers at memorial service as France honours 130 victims
These touching pictures show victims of the Paris terror attacks turning out for an emotional tribute to the 130 people who died in the massacre .
Some of those injured two weeks ago were carried into the memorial on stretchers and in wheelchairs in a determined effort to take part in the ceremony.
President Francois Hollande told the crowd at Hotel des Invalides in Paris that the country would "do all it can to destroy the army of fanatics" behind the attacks.
Family members of the victims were also among those who attended the ceremony, including the parents of British victim Nick Alexander.
Barry and Sheelagh Alexander said they were grateful for the "outpouring of love from around the world" for their 36-year-old son, who was murdered in the Bataclan theatre massacre.
The merchandise seller was one of 89 people killed when gunmen stormed the building midway through a rock concert.
His parents said in statement: "Words cannot express the sadness we feel at the loss of our precious Nick.r
"This is just the beginning of a long road where we will have to get used to the absence of his physical presence around us - a physical presence that we loved so much, that made us laugh, that we loved being with, and always held us close wherever he was.
"We will get through this with the love and strength of our beloved family, friends and colleagues, and the support of so many people we have never even met.
"The outpouring of love from around the world has been a great comfort to us and makes us even more proud to have had Nick as our son. We will love and miss him forever."
The names of the 130 dead and their ages were read aloud in a sombre ceremony.
The vast majority of victims were young adults in their 20s and 30s.
The French national anthem played by a military band closed the ceremony honouring the dead, and Mr Hollande left the Invalides monument walking alone.
He announced on Thursday that Russia and France will co-ordinate their military strikes against Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Ahead of the memorial, Mr Hollande called on French citizens to come together in solidarity by hanging the Tricolor.
However, among some of the grieving families, there is a growing sense of anger that the attacks may and should have been averted.
At least one family has called for a boycott of the memorial, suggesting a more concerted effort to tackle terrorism in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks could have stopped the killings a fortnight ago.
Concerns have also been raised over alleged failures by French authorities to monitor those going to and returning from Syria.