The father of Ziyed Ben Belgacem, the man who took a female soldier hostage at Paris Orly Airport over the weekend has given a statement insisting that his now deceased son was not a terrorist. Eyewitness evidence, however, tells another story.
According to CNN, the 39-year-old shouted his allegiance to Allah as he held a gun to the woman’s head, and made it clear he had every intention to kill her and whoever else he could before dying as a martyr to his God. His father, on the other hand, is adamant that the man’s actions were due to a heavy intake of alcohol and drugs.
The man, whose identity remains undisclosed at the request of French law enforcement authorities, also associates his son’s attack at Paris Orly Airport with the man having “never prayed.” Toxicology reports revealed that Belgacem had alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis in his system when the incident took place. Paris prosecution office spokesperson Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre has since informed mainstream media sources, including The Guardian, that the man’s blood alcohol level was almost twice that which would make it legal for him to operate a motor vehicle.
The female soldier taken hostage at Paris Orly Airport was not the first person the alleged radical Muslim victimized on the day of the attack. A police officer is said have suffered non-life threatening injuries after Belgacem stole his gun and shot him.
The Toronto Star reports that the 39-year-old had an extensive criminal history, which included being imprisoned for five years due to matters surrounding violence and theft. Despite his father’s claims, the investigation is still one in which authorities are making the motive of terrorism a main focus.
The unidentified man told police that Belgacem had telephoned him immediately after he shot the initial law enforcement officer, and begged for forgiveness before heading to Paris Orly Airport. He admits that he denied this request, as his son had injured a policeman and therefore needed to know that the situation had now become dire. He is no longer being questioned by authorities, as it was decided he had played no role in the attack. His son’s brother and cousin, however, were still being questioned as of Sunday.
The incident is said to have been over and done within merely a few minutes. Belgacem entered the south terminal with a gas canister and a yet unidentified weapon, and attempted to use the female soldier as a human shield to stop police from shooting him. This plan failed, however, after he rose up high enough for bullets to be fired several times, thus killing him immediately. French law enforcement and terrorist task force officials are updating the public on investigation details as they continue to gather more information.
By Lorelai Zelmerlow