CCTV shows moment Paris airport attacker grabs soldier

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.

Toxicology tests showed an alcohol level of 0.93 grammes per litre in his blood, along with the presence of cannabis and cocaine, a judicial source said.

Ben Belgacem, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, grabbed a soldier on patrol at Orly's southern terminal on Saturday morning.

Ben Belgacem was meant to be reporting to police under bail conditions connected to an armed robbery, and there were fears he had been radicalised in jail.

Belgacem begins yelling that he wants to kill and die for Allah, according to a Paris prosecutor.

In an interview Sunday with French radio Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect's father said that Belgacem wasn't a practicing Muslim and drank alcohol.

A member of France's elite police force at Orly airport.

Belgacem's father, brother and a cousin are in police custody, Molins said.

With the country in the throes of a highly-charged election campaign before a two-round presidential election in April and May, the attacks will fuel the political debate.

After the first incident, Belgacem called his father and brother saying he had done something stupid, the prosecutor said.

Prince William, second-in-line to the British throne, and his wife Kate, who finished a two-day visit to Paris on Saturday stuck to their plans despite the attack.

No one else was injured in the attack. The auto was found at the airport. Dozens of flights to and from Orly were cancelled during an hours-long shutdown after the incident, but by Sunday afternoon air traffic had returned to normal, a spokeswoman for the Paris airports authority said. "He said to me: "Daddy, please forgive me". 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. At his home, they found several grams of cocaine, a machete and some foreign currency, Molins said.

Belgacem then held up a female motorist at gunpoint, stole her auto and drove to Orly airport before attacking a patrol of three counter-terrorism soldiers.

Molins said that according to the soldiers, the attacker yelled: "Put down your weapons!"

President Francois Hollande said the case had shown the need for the "Sentinelle" security operation brought in after 2015 attacks.

  • Leroy Wright