Paris airport attacker's father blames 'drink and cannabis'

Tomas Mccoy
March 21, 2017

Around 3,000 people were evacuated from Orly airport following Saturday's incident.

All three family members had made contact with the police themselves, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a press conference. Such a weapon could inflict harm but would not usually be lethal.

The attacker's motives were unknown but the anti-terror section of the Paris prosecutors' office immediately took over the investigation. The Paris police office says a man fired birdshot at officers who stopped him, wounding one in the face.

The results of the autopsy came later in the same the day that Belgacem's father, who had been questioned in relation to the shooting and subsequently released by police, rebutted accusations that his son was a terrorist.

As the woman, a reservist, fought back, Belgacem dragged her to the ground and tried to wrestle her assault rifle from her. He injured a soldier before being shot several times.

They responded with "remarkable professionalism and self-control" to protect their colleague and the public, he said.

According to the soldiers, the attacker yelled: "Put down your weapons!"

Molins said the assailant meant to open fire on the crowd of travelers. In Vitry, he also "burst into a bar and threatened those present", Mr Le Roux said.

Police say he then stole a vehicle at gunpoint from a woman at Vitry, south of Paris. Before Saturday's attacks, he had spent multiple stints in prison, where authorities believe he may have been radicalized.

"The individual was known to the police and judicial services".

"He told me, "I ask for your forgiveness, I've screwed up with a gendarme".

President Francois Hollande said the case had been turned over to anti-terrorism prosecutors and a number of operations were under way.

In a possible foreshadowing of Monday's televised presidential debate, the top-polling candidates commented on Sunday on the France's state of security.

Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist, said the military "once again showed their professionalism this morning in Orly". "But there is the bravery of our soldiers!" Molins said he was out on bail, banned from leaving France and obliged to report regularly to police, having been handed preliminary charges for robberies in 2016. Traffic was jammed near the airport and people wheeled suitcases down the road. Flights in and out of Orly were temporarily suspended as well. The incident disrupted the travel plans of 5,000 to 6,000 passengers.

"It has been very disruptive, because we could fear many, many things, but all the police forces and the army have been very effective, so everything is OK now", he said.

Both the west and the south terminals were closed during the security operation.

"The air traffic is fairly normal", a spokesman for the Paris airport authority said last morning.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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