Paris attacks: lecturer hid in dark entry

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An academic at the University of Ulster has described being caught up in the horrific terrorist attack in Paris as a “crazy situation”.

Professor Paddy Gray, a lecturer in housing at the university, had to flee as the terrorist attacks unfolded. He was pulled into a dark entry as he ran past and sheltered there with others, until a family invited them into their home.

Professor Gray, who is from Derry, took to twitter as the events unfolded.

As the terrorists attacked people on the streets of the French capital, Professor Gray posted: “Hiding in an entry near place de la republique with sone Parisians.. Being told someone still out there with gun.”

Mr Gray also posted “Crazy scenes here in Paris near la republique” as the terrorists continued with their bomb and gun attacks.

As the attacks continued he revealed that a local resident let people into his home to keep safe. He posted: “Robert Normand who gave up his house tonight to keep us safe in Paris la republique.

As the attacks concluded Professor Gray posted: “Thanks everyone for the messages. Been taken into a kind gentleman’s house with six other people but safe.”

Mr Gray was in an Irish bar watching a football match on television when the attacks began.

“I walked up towards my hotel, this car stopped and [was left] abandoned,” he said.

“So police told us to run.

“I ran down this road and I was panicking and ended up being pulled into this entry by these people.

“We stopped there for quite a while in the dark.”

The French authorities say all eight if the attackers are dead.

French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency and said the attacks were an “act of war” organised by Islamic State. Three days of mourning have been declared by the President of France following last night’s series of attacks which so far have claimed the lives of 127 people.

Meanwhile, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said on Saturday, that the Irish Embassy in Paris was providing consular assistance to one injured Irish citizen.

He said there was “no indication of any other Irish casualties at this time”, but as a precaution he had activated his department’s consular response centre.

The telephone number for the British embassy in Paris is 0033 144 513100 and the number for the Irish embassy is 0033 144 176700.