Paris Orly Airport Attacker Said he Wanted 'to Die for Allah'


The father of the man shot dead at Orly airport in Paris after attacking a soldier insisted Sunday that his son was "not a terrorist" and that his actions were caused by drink and drugs.

An airport CCTV screen images shows a man on the ground inside Orly Sud terminal following a shooting incident at Orly Airport near Paris, France March 18, 2017.

Authorities said air traffic would not return to normal before Sunday morning.

Ben Belgacem, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, said he wanted to "die for Allah" and that others too would die after grabbing a soldier, putting a gun to her head and seizing her rifle.

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

"My son has never been a terrorist". He never prayed and he drinks.

A postmortem is being carried out on the man's body to establish whether he had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"He said to me: "Daddy, please forgive me. I've screwed up with a police officer.' He then cut short the conversation and drove to the airport, stealing another vehicle en route".

Intelligence agents searched his home in Garges-les-Gonesse, north of Paris, for evidence of Islamist sympathies, but reportedly found nothing.

France's Orly airport is evacuated and the flights are suspended after a man seizing a soldier's gun is shot dead. Molins said Ben Belgacem threatened the three, saying: "I'm here to die for Allah".

The 39-year-old Frenchman had a long criminal record, with multiple jail terms for drugs and robbery offences.

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

"Given the violence that is shown in the (CCTV) pictures. you sense that he was determined to go through with it", Molins told a news conference.

More than 230 people have died in France in the past two years at the hands of attackers allied to the militant Islamist group Islamic State, whose strongholds in Syria and Iraq are being bombed by an global coalition including France. He also had in his possession a 9mm revolver, 750 euros ($805), a copy of the Koran as well as a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.

Molins said Belgacem was out on bail, banned from leaving France and obliged to report regularly to police, having faced preliminary charges for robberies in 2016.

Ziyed Ben Belgacem stopped at a bar early on Saturday morning, around four hours before he first fired birdshot at traffic police.

One neighbour, Hamid, said: "The last time I saw him was three days ago".

The soldiers at Orly were part of Operation Sentinel - involving thousands of soldiers deployed to provide back-up to the police after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015 and the Paris attacks of November 2015.

With the country in the throes of a highly-charged electioncampaign before a two-round presidential election in April andMay, the attacks fuelled the political debate about security.