PARIS | Blood tests determined Sunday that a suspected Islamic extremist consumed drugs and alcohol before a frenzied spree of violence that ended when he took a soldier hostage at Paris' Orly Airport and was shot dead by her fellow patrolmen.
Security footage of Saturday's attack shows the man grabbing the soldier around the shoulders after dropping a shopping bag, as her companion patrols slightly ahead. He can be seen trying to wrestle away the soldier's assault rifle.
Although Ben Belgacem held on to the soldier for an extended period of time, it took a few minutes for other airport goers to notice what was happening. Soldiers guarding key sites have been targeted in four attacks in the past two years but escaped with only minor injuries.
Belgacem called his father and brother early minutes after he fired at a police traffic patrol, injuring one officer in the face, to say he had made a stupid mistake, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.
It is reported that in the seconds before his death, the attacker shouted that he was there to "die for Allah".
In an interview with French radio Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect's father said Belgacem was not a practising Muslim and drank alcohol. "He told me: 'I ask for your forgiveness". A toxicology report conducted during an autopsy indicated he had twice the legal limit of alcohol for driving in France; trace amounts of cocaine and marijuana were also found, the Paris prosecutor's office said. That is almost twice the legal limit for driving in France.
Belgacem then held up a female motorist at gunpoint, stole her auto and drove to Orly airport before attacking a patrol of three counter-terrorism soldiers. Belgacem's brother and a cousin were also released.
Travellers walk on the highway following the evacuation of Orly airport.
The Frenchman had been reporting regularly to police under the terms of a provisional release from custody, and did not have the right to leave the country.
Belgacem had been flagged as having been radicalised during a spell in detention in 2011-2012, the prosecutor said. The attack at Orly comes with France still on high alert following a wave of jihadist attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives in two years. Today (Monday), Associated Press news agency published the security footage from the scene where the terrorist can be seen charging the soldier from behind and trying to grab her weapon.
Belgacem's house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the aftermath of the suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Put your hands on your head! "Whatever happens, there will be deaths".