French anti-terror police
French prosecutors have a launched an anti-terror investigation in to yesterday’s two attacks which led to the gunman being shot dead at Orly airport.
The first attack happened where by Belgacem was stopped for speeding and shot a police officer in the head and then carjacked a woman at gunpoint.
The gunman was named yesterday as Ziyed Ben Belgacem aged 39. He was shot dead by soldiers after saying he wants to “die for Allah” whilst pointing a gun at a soldier’s head at Orly airport.
Francois Mollins a Paris Prosecutor told reporters yesterday he had a criminal record for armed robbery and various drug offences.
His home has been searched by intelligence services in Garges-les-Gonese for any extremist Islamic materials. Nothing was found.
Belgacem’s father and brother were both arrested yesterday and taken into custody by French authorities, his father was later released.
Belgacem’s father told Europe 1 radio today that his son was not a terrorist. He took drugs drank alcohol and never prayed. He said he received a phone call from his son after the first attack and said: “Dad, please forgive me. I’ve screwed up with a police officer.”
Paris is on high alert after yesterday’s two attacks. There has been a series of deadly terror attacks in the French capital the last few years. Operation Sentinelle was launched after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, with over 7,500 armed soldiers on the streets of Paris and across France.
Yesterday Emmanuel Macron, Presidential candidate praised the soldiers at the airport saying they “have demonstrated one more time calm control and professionalism”.
French Interior Minister, Bruno Le roux said yesterday: “At 8.30am a man tried to attack a Sentinelle patrol in Orly in order to take the weapon of one of the female military. He didn’t succeed and he was neutralised.”
A witness called Dominque said to BFM Television that the attacker held the soldier by the throat and held her arm and her weapon “We saw it was a serious situation so we escaped,”
“We went down the stairs and right after we heard two gunshots.”
Youssef Mouhajra a taxi driver who was picking up passengers when he heard shots, which he said he first thought was just warning shots.
“We have become accustomed to this kind of warning and to having the soldiers there.” He added, that he then saw people rushing out of the airport terminal.
“I told the passengers, ‘let’s get out of here’,” he said. As he drove away, he saw soldiers and police rushing towards the airport terminal.
The incident took place in the southern terminal of the airport where he was shot dead.
Witnesses had described the scene and told the AFP news agency that the airport was evacuated soon after the shooting.
Frank Lecam said: “We had queued up to check in for the Tel Aviv flight when we heard three or four shots nearby.”
“There are policemen, emergency workers and soldiers everywhere in all directions. A security official told us that it happened near gates 37-38 where Turkish Airlines flights were scheduled.”
The investigation continues…