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Tests show Paris airport attacker had taken drink and drugs

Tests show Paris airport attacker had taken drink and drugs
By Alasdair Sandford with AFP, Reuters
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French authorities say blood tests show the man shot dead after attacking soldiers at Orly airport had taken alcohol, cocaine and cannabis.


Tests on the body of a man shot dead at a Paris airport after attacking soldiers have revealed that he was nearly twice over the drink-drive limit and had taken cannabis and cocaine.

Blood tests carried out on Sunday following a post mortem reveal that he had 0.93 grammes per litre of blood in his system. The legal drink-drive limit is 0.5 grammes per litre.

Investigators are trying to establish why 39-year-old Zied ben Belgacem attacked an army patrol at Orly airport after being involved in a shooting and a carjacking on Saturday.

He reportedly shouted that he was “here to die for Allah” but a man identified as his father told French radio at the weekend that his son had “never been a terrorist”.

“He never prayed. He drank and under the effect of alcohol and cannabis looks what happens. It’s a shock. What can I tell you, it’s his drugs habit. the fault of the drugs. At the end of the day, I’m the one paying the price,” the man told Europe 1.

Belgacem had served time in jail for armed robbery and drugs trafficking. His “radicalisation” had been noticed but investigators say nothing so far indicates any attachment to jihadist movements.

The Frenchman was born in Paris, according to the prosecutor. French media have said his family is of Tunisian origin.

Police who searched his home in a block of flats at Garges-lès-Gonesse say they found cocaine and a machete.

Several of his relatives held at the weekend have since been released.

The chase began early in the morning after the Frenchman pulled a revolver and shot at a police officer who stopped his speeding car near his home north of Paris.

Belgacem was then seen at Vitry-sur-Seine south of Paris where he took aim at customers in a bar and fired shots without causing injury. He abandoned his car, stole another and drove to Orly airport.

Inside, he threw a bag containing chemicals to the ground before attacking an army patrol, according to Paris prosecutor François Molins who gave a briefing on Saturday. For more than two minutes the attacker gripped the sole female soldier, and shouted “drop your weapons! Hands on your heads! I am here to die for Allah. In any case people are going to die”.

After wrestling the servicewoman’s assault weapon and separating himself from her, Belgacem was shot dead by the other soldiers.

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