Mistaken For A Possible Terrorist, Egyptian Man Remains Hospitalized

Nov 18, 2015
Originally published on November 18, 2015 11:39 am
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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We're also learning more details about the victims of the attacks in Paris last Friday. An Egyptian man remains in the hospital. He's severely injured in the bombings at the soccer stadium here in Paris. French press initially implied he might have been a bomber, but NPR's Leila Fadel in Cairo reports he was in Paris actually to care for an ill family member.

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Waleed Abdel Razek loves soccer. While visiting Paris to tend to his older brother receiving treatment for blood cancer, he decided to catch a match. A close family friend in Egypt, Mohamed Gaber, says Abdel Razek was running late for the game that pitted France against Germany. He was outside the stadium when there were blasts, and shrapnel pierced his body. His family in Paris couldn't find him after the attacks, and Abdel Razek's brother reached out in his desperation to Gaber in Egypt.

MOHAMED GABER: I found the message on my WhatsApp saying, Mohammed, you have to come now immediately to Parris. I can't find my brother, and his phone is switched off.

FADEL: Gaber tried to track him down and posted Abdel Razek's information and picture on Facebook. The family found him at a Paris hospital. The 27-year-old is in a medically induced coma. He's had three surgeries.

GABER: He needs more surgeries, but his case is very risky if they did anymore operation or surgeries to him now.

FADEL: And as he struggled to survive, several media outlets initially circulated reports that an Egyptian passport was found near the stadium. And one ran Abdel Razek's picture on its website, seeming to identify him as a terrorist, which no officials did. The site also said he was dead, which is also untrue.

GABER: He's an innocent guy who was going to watch a match. That's the only fault he did.

FADEL: His mother, who'd come to help one son heal, is now sitting by the bedside of her other son, praying for his survival. Gaber is headed to Paris to support the family. He says he knows the reason people jumped to conclusions about Abdel Razek.

GABER: Because he's Egyptian (unintelligible).

FADEL: Gaber says Abdel Razek just wanted to go to a soccer game. Leila Fadel, NPR News, Cairo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.