PARIS, France — A person who said he was prepared to die for Allah was shot useless on Saturday after attacking a soldier at Paris’s Orly airport, triggering a serious safety alert that precipitated journey chaos.
Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old French national, grabbed a feminine soldier and put a gun to her head, seizing her assault rifle, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins informed a press convention.
“Put your weapons down, hands on your heads. I’m here to die for Allah. In any case people are going to die,” the attacker informed the troops in Molins’s account of the assault.
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He tried to use the soldier as a human defend however she dropped to her knees, giving her two colleagues a possibility to shoot him.
Ben Belgacem was carrying a petroleum can in a backpack in addition to a duplicate of the Koran, Molins said. Officials say he had a string of felony convictions and was beforehand investigated for hyperlinks to radical Islam.
The incident comes as France stays on excessive alert following a sequence of jihadist assaults which have claimed greater than 230 lives since January 2015.
Molins said Ben Belgacem had additionally fired at police within the northern Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse earlier on Saturday, barely injuring one officer within the head.
Prosecutors said they opened an anti-terror investigation.
The attacker’s father, brother and 35-year-old cousin have all been detained for questioning, Molins said. All three had made contact with the police themselves.
Flights had been halted at Orly for a number of hours following the taking pictures, which occurred simply earlier than eight:30 am (0730 GMT). Around three,000 folks had been evacuated from the constructing.
Incoming flights had been diverted and hundreds of passengers stranded at Paris’s second-largest airport, however regular service resumed by mid-afternoon.
France goes to the polls on April 23 within the first spherical of a two-stage presidential election during which safety is likely one of the foremost points on voters’ minds.
Witnesses described scenes of chaos because the taking pictures befell.
“There was total panic,” Sofiane Slim, a check-in assistant at Royal Air Maroc, informed AFP.
Elite police groups secured the airport and searched it for explosives however none had been discovered.
French President Francois Hollande said his authorities was “determined to fight relentlessly against terrorism, defend the security of our compatriots and ensure the protection of our country”.
‘France still a target’
Ben Belgacem is believed to have stolen a automotive and pushed to Orly after taking pictures at police north of town, Molins said.
He had dedicated a number of armed robberies and was investigated for radicalization in 2015, though he didn’t characteristic on the listing of these thought to pose a excessive threat.
He lived in an condo in Garges-les-Gonesse, which was searched by investigators after the taking pictures on Saturday.
The taking pictures befell on the second day of an official go to to Paris by Britain’s Prince William and his spouse Kate, which was unaffected.
France stays beneath a state of emergency after a sequence of terror assaults, together with the November 2015 bloodbath in Paris and a truck assault in Nice final July.
In mid-February, a machete-wielding Egyptian man attacked a soldier outdoors Paris’s Louvre museum earlier than being shot and wounded.
The troopers on patrol at Orly airport belong to Operation Sentinelle, a power of seven,000 troops deployed within the capital and different cities after the January 2015 assaults in Paris.
On Thursday, a letter bomb exploded on the Paris workplaces of the International Monetary Fund, injuring a secretary who suffered burns to her palms and face.
Investigators suspect a Greek far-left group was behind the assault, which Hollande said confirmed that France was “still targeted”. CBB/rga