Paris attack adds fuel to security talk

Author

21 March, 2017

A man shot dead at a Paris airport on Saturday morning after attacking a soldier in the name of Allah had cocaine and cannabis in his bloodstream, according to authorities.

The toxicology tests found traces of cocaine and cannabis in Ziyed Ben Belgacem's blood.

Investigation showed Ben Belgacem was also behind a shooting targeting security officers during a routine road check at about 6:55 a.m. (0555 GMT) Saturday at Stains northern Paris, before being involved in a carjacking in another Paris suburb Vitry where he also threatened customers of a bar.

The Parisian-born Belgacem had a known police record for theft and drug trafficking.

Belgacem had served time in jail for armed robbery and drugs trafficking.

The Frenchman shot dead on Saturday by troops patrolling at Paris' Orly airport after he tried to take one of their weapons told them he was "here to die for Allah", a prosecutor said.

All three family members had made contact with the police themselves, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a press conference.

A terrorist enquiry has now been launched into the two attacks and the death of Belgacem, who was only released from prison just months before.

"He never attended prayers".

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On Saturday morning, Belgacem shot a policewoman in the face at around 6.50am CET (5.50am GMT) during a road check, before hijacking a auto.

The searches - authorized under France's official "state of emergency", passed after the Paris attacks - have been frequently criticized as violating the civil liberties of those searched and detained, and rights advocates have pushed the government to define "Islamist radicalism" more clearly.

The father, who was released from police custody on Sunday after being questioned, said his son phoned him minutes after the shooting "in a state of extreme agitation".

His house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

Belgacem then threatened people in a bar before stealing a vehicle at gunpoint and driving to the airport.

"He called me at seven, eight in the morning and said, 'There you go, Papa.' He was extremely angry, even his mother couldn't understand him", the man identified as the father said on Europe 1. He continued to Orly, southeast of Paris, where he grabbed the assault rifle from a security officer on duty. Ordered to produce his identity papers, he pulled out his lead-shot pistol and fired at the officers, wounding one in the face.

According to soldiers, the attacker yelled: "Put down your weapons!"

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, running on an anti-immigration, anti-EU ticket, said the Orly attacker could have caused a "massacre".


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