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Young Irishman shot shielding his girlfriend at Paris concert

Irish band U2 pay their respects near Bataclan
Irish band U2 pay their respects near Bataclan

A YOUNG Irishman who was hit during the terror attack on the Bataclan rock venue has been hailed a hero for protecting his girlfriend and others during the shooting.

The man was at the Eagles of Death Metal gig in Paris with his girlfriend when gunmen opened fire on the crowd.

He was shot at point-blank range with a Kalashnikov assault rifle when the concert of the American rock band came under siege.

The man suffered severe trauma to the leg from the impact of the high-velocity bullet.

But it is understood that he lay across his partner in a bid to save her from the hail of bullets during the terrifying ordeal.

Sources revealed that the young man was injured at the very beginning of the attack, resulting in him losing a lot of blood before he was treated at the scene by paramedics and then rushed to hospital.

Last night, his condition was said to be serious but stable after he underwent surgery early on Saturday morning. Surgeons are now hopeful that he will recover from his injuries.

A source close to the family said the pair were understandably traumatised after the incident and did not wish to be named publicly.

The young man's family were notified on Saturday and relatives flew to Paris to attend his bedside.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing full consular supports for the family in Paris.

Surgery

It is believed that the couple only attended the Bataclan concert as "an 11th-hour decision" during their city break in the French capital.

"They are a lovely family and hugely respected … everyone here is now praying for his safe recovery," one neighbour of the injured man said last night. "From what we have heard, he was certainly one of the lucky ones," they added.

The loss of life at the popular venue surpassed that of any of the other attacks during the night of terror on the streets of the French capital.

Attackers, armed with guns and explosives, opened fire after holding some 100 people hostage.

It is believed some 1,000 people were in the venue to see the Californian band perform.

Footage has since emerged of the moment that the shooting began, which some people present initially believed was part of the show, before they realised the horrific reality of what was actually happening.

Another video captured outside the venue shows people fleeing through the emergency exits from the gunfire. A woman can be seen clinging to a window ledge, as some people scale the building amid the panic. People can be seen stumbling from the venue, having been injured during the attack.

The band who headlined the gig have now cancelled their tour after it emerged that their merchandising manager lost his life during the attack.

Nick Alexander (36) was one of 129 people who were killed during the deadliest terrorist attack that Europe has seen in the past decade.

Last night, the Department of Foreign Affairs was advising Irish people in Paris to exercise extreme caution and follow the instructions of the local authorities.

People are also being advised to keep their travel around the city to a minimum.

Many public buildings remain closed in the city.

Ralph Riegal and Laura Larkin