An Islamist gunman who took part in the massacre of at least 90 people at a Paris concert hall was trained to shoot by French police, it has emerged. Samy Amimour was one of three attackers that stormed the Bataclan theatre during a rock gig on 13 November, opening fire on the audience before blowing himself up.
The 28-year-old from Drancy, an impoverished neighbourhood in the capital's north-east, had handled weapons before, learning how to fire one at a local police shooting club. The former bus driver set off to get a gun licence and train to handle a firearm in late 2011, as he was planning to join jihadi groups in Yemen, French media reported.
In April 2012 he attended a two-hour shooting class organised by an association known as Tir-initiation that taught him to use a .9mm, a .38 special and a long rifle, according to iTele.
The course made him eligible to sign up for the Association Nationale de Tir de la Police (National Police Shooting Association), which he promptly did, without encountering any problems as he did not have a criminal record at the time.
Taking up a friend's advice he shaved his beard not to raise suspicions, the broadcaster reported, adding that Amimour was already preparing his trip to Yemen, having bought survival kits and collected funds for the mujahedeen. With two friends he attended a shooting range in the Porte de la Chapelle area of Paris.
His gun history became known to investigators in October 2012 as authorities discovered his intention to travel to Yemen. He was charged with 'conspiracy to commit terrorism' and flagged as a radical Islamist. In 2013 he evaded police monitoring and joined fighting in Syria instead.
A year later, his 67-year-old father set off on a private mission to bring his son back, but failed. He told Le Monde that he crossed the Turkish-Syrian border and reached Amimour near Aleppo, but was greeted coldly and was unable to persuade him to give up fighting. Amimour eventually returned to Paris to take part in the series of co-ordinated bombings and shootings that killed at least 130 people.