Published: Wed, March 22, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Autopsy to learn if Paris airport attacker was drunk or high

Troops at Paris' Orly airport on Saturday shot dead a man who tried to grab a soldier's weapon, triggering a major security scare that shut down the airport and left thousands of travellers stranded.

Ben Belgacem triggered a major scare at Orly global airport south of Paris on Saturday morning when he grabbed a female soldier on patrol and put a gun to her head. He was shot dead by soldiers after saying he wants to "die for Allah" whilst pointing a gun at a soldier's head at Orly airport.

Paris Airports, the group that manages the city's airports, said both Orly terminals were reopening Saturday afternoon after a suspension of several hours.

Now, a toxicology result has found Belgacem was under the influence of alcohol, coupled with consumption of cocaine and cannabis.

Prosecutors said Belgacem's father had been released from police custody on Saturday night, but his brother and a cousin were still being questioned.

Belgacem's father told Europe 1 radio today that his son was not a terrorist. It's a shock. What can I tell you, it's his drugs habit. the fault of the drugs.

A suspected Islamic terrorist who had been previously flagged for possible radicalism unloaded a barrage of bird shot at French police before being shot and killed at Paris Orly Airport after ripping an assault rifle away from a female soldier, a brazen attack that one local expert says highlights the need for better terror surveillance in France.

He drew a gun and fired, slightly injuring one officer.

"I told the passengers, "let's get out of here", he said.

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Kuijer was last seen wearing an orange hoodie under a brown leather coat, dark trousers , a black toque, and boots, police said. When Dumas entered their apartment, she found her eldest son from a previous relationship, Nathan, in medical distress.

Belgacem, who was born in 1978, was under supervision by authorities, Molins said, echoing Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux's earlier comments that Belgacem was known to intelligence services.

At the time of his death, Ben Belgacem was carrying a petrol can in his backpack, as well as 750 euros ($805) in cash, a copy of the Koran, a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.

Prosecutors said Belgacem was at a bar early on Saturday.

Paris-born Belgacem was stopped by three police officers as he drove a white auto in Garges-lès-Gonesse, to the north of the city at around 6:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. ET) on Saturday. At around 7:30 a.m. a man shot a police officer in the head with a pellet gun during a routine traffic stop before fleeing in a stolen vehicle.

Identity documents found on the attacker matched those presented by the man who fired at police in Garges-les-Gonesse.

At around 8:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET), Belgacem headed inside the airport's southern terminal where he nearly immediately encountered a military patrol, the prosecutor said.

France goes to the polls on 23 April in the first round of a two-stage presidential election in which security is one of the main issues on voters' minds. He has never prayed: he drinks.

Following the coordinated attacks around Paris in November 2015, the French government declared a state of emergency that was extended in December for the fifth time and will remain in force until July 2017.

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