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.
Ziyed Ben Belgacem, 39, put a gun to a soldier’s head in the check-in area at the South terminal of Orly airport and said he wanted to “die for Allah”, triggering a significant police operation (pictured).
That morning he had already shot at – but not seriously wounded – a police officer who had stopped him for speeding in the northern suburbs of Paris. Belgacem, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, had also walked into a bar in the city’s southern suburbs and fired a pistol several times without hitting any customers.
The Paris prosecutors’ office said that during an autopsy on Belgacem’s body, toxicology tests were conducted which showed the two drugs in his system. He also had an alcohol blood level of 0.93 grams per litre – almost twice the drink-drive limit.
However, the seriousness with which Belgacem took being a jihadist remains uncertain. He had previously been reported to police for espousing radical Islam during one of his prison terms for robbery and drug dealing but a search of his home in 2015 revealed nothing.
And over the weekend his father told radio station Europe 1: “My son has never been a terrorist. He never prayed and he drinks. And, under the influence of alcohol and cannabis, this is what happens.”
France remains on high alert following a series of jihadist attacks that have claimed over 230 lives since January 2015.