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Orly Airport’s Attacker under Effect of Drugs, Alcohol - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Paris – The man shot dead at Paris’s Orly Airport, after attacking a soldier, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time, a judicial source said Sunday.

“Toxicology tests carried out on Sunday showed an alcohol level of 0.93 grams per liter in his blood and the presence of cannabis and cocaine,” the source said.

Ziyed Ben Belgacem, 39, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, grabbed a soldier on patrol at Orly’s southern terminal on Saturday morning.

He put a gun to her head and seized her rifle, saying he wanted to “die for Allah.”

“My son was never a terrorist. He never attended prayer. He drank. But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up,” Belgacem’s father told Europe 1 on Sunday.

The father was released from police custody overnight Saturday. Belgacem’s brother and a cousin were released later Sunday.

“He called me at seven, eight in the morning and said, ‘There you go, Papa.’ He was extremely angry, even his mother couldn’t understand him,” the man identified as the father said on Europe 1.

“He told me: ‘I ask for your forgiveness. I’ve screwed up with a gendarme.’”

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Ben Belgacem appeared to have become caught up in a “sort of headlong flight that became more and more destructive.”

Belgacem had been flagged as having been radicalized during a spell in detention in 2011-2012, Molins said.

His house was among dozens searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

The drama, which caused no injuries except for the light wound to the traffic police officer, further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks the past two years that have killed 235 people.

On the other hand, Paris police searched the headquarters of the national financial prosecutor after a phone-in bomb threat but found no explosives.

A Paris police official says employees are being allowed to return to the building after explosives experts combed the site following the threat Monday. The prosecutor’s office is in central Paris, near the Garnier Paris opera house.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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