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Vigil held in Pittsburgh to mourn Paris terror victims (Includes first-hand account)

At least one of the suspected suicide bombers who was killed in one of the well-coordinated attacks was a recent emigre from Syria. Today among the mourners was Hamad Alawashi, a Syrian who fled his country just two months ago to escape the escalating violence, is calling for everyone to be united against terrorism.

“We must all be united against terrorism, in all levels; in a citizenship level, in political levels….we must all be together fighting against terrorism,” Alawashi said. “My heart goes out to the families of the people who were killed and hurt by the terrorists,” he added.

The crowd of adults and children met at Highland Park at 11 a.m. and held a moment of silence to mourn and honor the victims of Friday’s attacks. Afterwards 129 balloons were released and those in attendance sang the French National Anthem.

The event was organized by the French Cultural Center of Pittsburgh.

“I want those that are arrested and responsible for this tragedy to be judged severely. They are not the people who organized [the attacks]. They were guided by bigger people,” said Elise Fouguerel, 30, of France, but living in Pittsburgh.

Calling on both Belgium and France, Fouguerel, who has cousins living in Paris, but weren’t injured, wants the leadership of ISIS and those responsible for the planning of the attacks to be held responsible—”severely responsible,” she stressed.

Andreasa (left) and Gabriel hold a sign at Sunday s vigil calling for peace around the world.  Steph...

Andreasa (left) and Gabriel hold a sign at Sunday’s vigil calling for peace around the world. Stephen Pope/Digital Journal News

Saying she is “extremely worried, and extremely shocked,” by the deadly violence Loreline Bessiere, who holds dual citizenship with the United States and France said she still has friends living in France, and is concerned that the violence may spread to the United States.

Chloe Michelle, 12 of Pittsburgh, whose parents were born in France said, “I know that a lot of people died Friday, and I just want to be grateful for what we have and hope the violence stops.”

The national flag of France flies in Highland Park Sunday.  Stephen Pope/Digital Journal News

The national flag of France flies in Highland Park Sunday. Stephen Pope/Digital Journal News

In a written statement, the terrorist group ISIS has taken responsibility for the suicide bombings and gun attacks on several Paris restaurants, a concert hall and stadium.

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