Less than two hours earlier, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old MUSLIM French national of Tunisian origin born in Paris, who was on a terror watch list, had shot a female police officer in the face in a northern Paris suburb after being stopped for speeding.
UK Daily Mail Following the traffic stop, the man proceeded to hijack a woman’s car at gunpoint in another nearby suburb, Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said. The man continued to Orly, where he attempted to grab an assault rifle from a security officer on duty. The stolen car was recovered near the airport, French authorities said.
He wrestled the patrolwoman to the ground and tried to snatch her assault rifle, grabbing her around the neck as she clung to her gun and dragging her into a fast-food outlet. It was after the attacker managed to pry the rifle out of her grasp that the two patrolman with her fired three shots at Ziyed Ben Belgacem (below) “to protect their colleague and the public,” Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defence minister, said.
Anti-terror police stormed the airport searching for possible accomplices and explosives, while the airport was evacuated.
Reuters reported that the Muslim man who attacked soldiers at Paris Orly airport on Saturday carried a petrol can and shouted he was there to “die for Allah”, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said. According to testimony of soldiers who witnessed the attack, the assailant put his air gun to the head of a woman soldier and shouted to other soldiers with her: “Put down your guns. Put your hands on your head. I am here to die for Allah. In any case, there will be deaths.”
The convicted Muslim criminal with links to Islamic extremists sent a text message to his brother and father stating ‘I shot the police’, shortly before he was shot dead during the attack at Paris Orly airport. He was killed after wrestling a soldier’s gun from her and fleeing into a McDonald’s.
The terrorist’s father and brother have been taken into custody, and a home is being searched, officials have confirmed.
Belgacem was stopped by police in the suburb of Stains, close to his home, at around 6.55am. The 39-year-old, who was driving a Renault Clio, pulled out a shotgun and fired at the officers while he was fetching his ID. He sped off, and the car was found abandoned 11 miles away at Vitry, south of Paris.
He then hijacked a woman’s Citroen Picasso at gunpoint, and this second car was later found parked at the airport.
Belgacem had previously been jailed for drug trafficking and authorities believe he was radicalized by other Muslims in prison. He first came to police notice in the late 1990s, when he was involved in a series of bank robberies in the Paris suburb.
Checks soon revealed that Belgacem was subject to a ‘File J’ – meaning he was wanted by the judicial authorities but was not under surveillance. Passengers landing at Orly were kept on planes while the anti-terror operation was carried out.
A spokesman for the military force that patrols public sites in France says the soldier attacked at Orly Airport was ‘shocked’ but uninjured after the ‘very violent aggression’.
A police source said the suspect had been killed by troops taking part in Operation Sentinelle, a security initiative that has been in place since 2015, and involves some 7000 soldiers. France is currently under a state of emergency following a series of attacks by Islamic State and al-Qaeda operatives over the past two years.