2017 Paris attack: Orly Airport

On Saturday, March 18, 2017, a 39-year-old man by the name of Ziyed Ben Belgacom attacked the Orly airport in Paris, France. Belgacom held a female French soldier at gunpoint and shouted, “I am here to die in the name of Allah… There will be deaths,” before being shot to death by two soldiers patrolling the airport. According to French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Belgacom was shot after tackling the female soldier,  using her as a human shield, and attempting to take her weapon.

Thousands of travelers were evacuated and rerouted to other airports near by. Belgacom was the only casualty. Earlier that day, Belgacom stole a car from a French woman and shot a police officer after stealing his weapon. Officials said the officer didn’t suffer from any life threatening injuries. Francois Molins, a French prosecutor, was the one who identified the attacker as  Ziyed Ben Belgacom. Molins claims that Belgacom had a previous arrest record, such as arrests for violence and theft, including one five-year sentence that began in 2009.

However, Belgacom’s father insists that he is not a terrorist, and instead blames his actions on his drugs use. “My son was not a terrorist. He never prayed and he drank,” said Belgacom’s father. “This is what happens under the influence of drink and cannabis.” A toxicology report showed that Belgacon was in fact under the influence, as he had alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana in his system.

There were also a number of Belgacom relatives taken into custody and questioned. His father was released the next day, Sunday March 19. He stated that his son had called him after the first shooting and had sounded “very angry.” “He said to me: ‘Daddy, please forgive me. I’ve screwed up with a police officer,'” the father said. “I said I didn’t forgive him ‘because you hurt a policeman.'”

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