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Paris attack survivor shares harrowing details of 'unfathomable' scene

/ Source: TODAY

A French journalist who survived part of the coordinated attacks on Paris Friday described a harrowing scene in the deadliest day in the city since World War II.

Charlotte Brehaut, a journalist with France 24, was at Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant in the 10th arrondissement where police say terrorists shot multiple patrons.

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"I think the first thing is just a sense that it's not really happening to you,'' Brehaut told Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on TODAY Saturday. "It doesn't seem real. I felt like I was watching myself on a screen and I wasn't really present in the moment because it just felt so unfathomable and so hard to imagine and hard to relate to anything you've ever experienced."

Brehaut was in the restaurant with a friend when they heard huge explosions she said sounded like fireworks before shards of glass flew at them. She clutched a woman's hand as the two lay on the floor in a devastating moment.

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"As I was holding her hands and asked if she was OK, I looked up and realized she had been shot in the chest and was dying,'' Brehaut said. "She had a pool of blood around her, and I realized the scale and the severity of the shooting."

The restaurant is located nearby the Bataclan theater in Paris' 11th arrondissement, where at least 100 people were killed when gunmen entered the building. A crowd waiting to hear the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal perform was fired upon. Meanwhile, a crowd of 80,000 people watching a soccer game at the national stadium, was hit with loud explosions from at least a pair of suicide bombers 19 minutes into the game, according to officials.

The violence comes less than a year after deadly attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, a fact that Brehaud said is "such a crushing blow, a real dagger to the heart for the people living in Paris."

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French President Francois Hollande has blamed ISIS for the coordinated attack, which left 127 dead and around 200 wounded in the deadliest day on French soil since World War II. Eight attackers are dead, seven of whom were suicide bombers, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins' office.

"The level of coordination to have these simultaneous attacks with a large group is really quite impressive and terrifying, and I think it's going to require a huge amount of soul-searching among intelligence organizations in Paris and London and Washington about how this sort of activity could go undetected,'' NBC security expert Michael Leiter said on TODAY Saturday.

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Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.