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France investigates terror link to Orly attack
21 March 2017, 12:51 | Sue Hudson
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Paris: The man shot dead after attempting to steal a soldier's gun at Paris Orly Airport on Saturday was a "radicalised Muslim" known to security services and was also involved in another shooting incident hours earlier in the day, French authorities said.
Toxicology tests conducted on Belgacem's body revealed that he had almost twice the legal limit of alcohol for driving in France in his blood as well as "traces of cocaine and cannabis" in his system. The Paris prosecutor said that the attacker, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, shouted Islamic slogans, before being fatally shot by security staff.
He tried to seize the servicewoman's automatic weapon, put his gun to her head and said: "I'm here to die for Allah".
The suspect had been imprisoned several times on various offenses and was flagged to authorities as having been radicalized in jail in 2011-12, Paris Prosecutor François Molins said at a press conference late Saturday.
A police search of his flat found traces of cocaine, Mr Molins said.
Belgacem's plans were unclear, Molins said, adding that an investigation is meant to determine whether he acted as a "lone wolf".
"My son has never been a terrorist". He never prayed and he drinks.
The first attack happened where by Belgacem was stopped for speeding and shot a police officer in the head and then carjacked a woman at gunpoint.
The other two soldiers on duty at Orly fired a total of eight rounds at Ben Belgacem.
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Despite no one being physically injured apart from the lightly-wounded police traffic officer, the fearsome drama further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks in the past two years that have killed 235 people.
Inside, he threw a bag containing chemicals to the ground before attacking an army patrol, according to Paris prosecutor François Molins who gave a briefing on Saturday. French media said his family was of Tunisian origin.
He was suspected of then stealing a vehicle in another suburb and driving to Orly, Le Roux said.
French President Francois Hollande said investigators will determine whether the attacker "had a terrorist plot behind him".
The Paris prosecutor's office, which is in charge of the probe, said Sunday that Belgacem's father was released from police custody overnight.
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.
Police at the scene of the incident at Orly airport in Paris.
He later entered a bar where he was a regular customer in Vitry-sur-Seine on the other side of Paris, and opened fire with his air gun without hitting anyone.
He is no longer being questioned by authorities, as it was decided he had played no role in the attack.
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