The father of a man who tried to kill an officer at Orly airport in Paris, and who later got shot and died at the spot, claims that his son was ‘not a terrorist’ and that his actions were caused by alcohol and drugs.
On Saturday, 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, entered the Orly airport and grabbed a soldier, putting a gun to her head. He also tried to seize the officer’s rifle, saying he wanted to ‘die for Allah’. However, other officers at the airport were quick to respond to the situation and they shot Belgacem dead while the captivated officer remained unharmed.
Investigating officers are still trying to decipher what led Belgacem to commit this act, but his father is adamant that his son was an alcoholic and hooked to cannabis, which led to such an erratic behavior on his part. “My son was not a terrorist. He never prayed and he drank,” the father, who was in shock and whose first name was not given, told Europe 1 radio.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine whether drugs and alcohol indeed had any part to play in the incident.
Belgacem was born in France to Tunisian parents, and had been imprisoned once for armed robbery and drug trafficking. Belgacem was investigated in 2015 over links to Islamist radicals forged in prison, but he was never put in the category of people considered high-risk.
After the attack, Orly airport was closed temporarily due to the security scare but it was reopened after a short while. By Sunday afternoon, air traffic had returned to normal completely.