Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Tests Find Drugs, Alcohol in Blood of Paris Airport Attacker

Tests Find Drugs, Alcohol in Blood of Paris Airport Attacker

Investigators are trying to establish why 39-year-old Zied ben Belgacem attacked an army patrol at Orly airport after being involved in a shooting and a carjacking on Saturday.

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

Interior minister Bruno Le Roux has previously said Belgacem was known to French intelligence services.

In between the moments when he ducked behind his hostage, the two other soldiers fired three bursts, eight rounds in all, that killed the attacker, Molins said.

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

The prosecutor added that, according to soldiers, the attacker yelled: "Put down your weapons!"

He said his son phoned him to say before the attack: "I ask your forgiveness.

And under the effect of alcohol and cannabis, this is where you end up", Belgacem's father said while under preventive arrest for interrogation by police.

The Paris prosecutor's office, which is in charge of the probe, said Sunday that Belgacem's father was released from police custody overnight.

Responding to the attack, French President Francois Hollande reaffirmed on Saturday the state's determination to "fight terrorism, defend the security of our compatriots and to ensure the protection of the territory". An estimated 3,000 passengers were evacuated.

He tried to seize the servicewoman's automatic weapon, put his gun to her head and said: "I'm here to die for Allah".

Those soldiers were part of a military patrol stationed at the airport as part of the country's "Sentinelle" security program, which has deployed special forces troops at various sensitive locations throughout France following the series of deadly terrorist attacks that have struck the country since 2015.

Ramata Dieng, whose brother Dieng died of asphyxiation during a 2007 arrest where police harshly restrained him and held him against the floor, said: "We demand that police not be above the law".

The attack at Orly comes with France still on high alert following a wave of attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives in two years. It handles most domestic fights and some global ones and served 31.2 million passengers in 2016, according to the Paris Airport Authority.

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. The man had earlier fled the suburb of Stains on Saturday in a vehicle stolen from a woman at gunpoint after opening fire on officers, injuring one, during an identity check.

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