A man was shot dead Saturday morning at Paris Orly Airport after he tried to steal a soldier’s gun. The man who was identified as Ziyed Ben Belgacem said that he would die for Allah and proceeded to attack a female soldier and tried to steal her assault rifle to shoot other people.
The action caused the two troops of the Sentinelle special force unit patrolling the airport to fire eight bullets at him, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office. Belgacem had a criminal history and had been flagged for radicalism during his stay in prison. Belgacem used a pistol and held it against the soldier’s head, while using her as a human shield and attempting to take her gun, explained Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor at a conference held on Saturday night. Belgacem told the soldiers “whatever happens, there will be deaths.”
Chaos broke out on Orly
The events took place at around 8:30 a.m local time, and French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Drian said that the soldier was able to keep hold of her gun while the radical attacked her. Drian explained that the other soldiers were forced to shoot Belgacem to protect the soldier and the passengers at Orly Airport.
A witness told BFM television that the soldiers took aim at the man, and another witness remembered hearing at least three to four gunshots being fired, according to Agence France-Presse. A military spokesman said that the soldier attacked by Belgacem was uninjured but was rather shocked, and she described the attack as a very violent aggression.
The police evacuated the airport when the attack began, safeguarding over 3,000 people. Arriving and departure flights were delayed on account of the chaos that broke out at the airport. The remaining flights were diverted to another Paris airport, Charles De Gaulle.
The airport was scrutinized after it was evacuated and officials say that no explosives were found in Orly. Ziyed Ben Belgacem wasn’t on the terror suspect list, but his house was searched in 2015 following the November bomb and shooting that injured thousands and killed 130 people in Paris as he was suspected of Islamic radicalism, according to prosecutors.
Belgacem was 39 years old and had a criminal record of nine offenses, including robbery and drug-related crimes. Paris prosecutors have called in for questioning Belgacem’s father and brother, following standard procedure. Belgacem was born in France.
Fourth attack on the Sentinelle unit
The French Interior Minister, Bruno Le Roux, confirmed reports that claimed that Belgacem shot an officer earlier that day. Somewhere around 7 a.m, the radical was pulled over by officers for speeding, they asked him for his ID, and the man opened fire on them. One of the officers was shot with a gun that had small metal pellets. Belgacem fled the scene after shooting the officer and went on to perpetrate the attack that would cause him his life. The officer he shot is currently under treatment but isn’t seriously hurt, according to CNN.
The Sentinelle special force unit was formed two years ago after the Charlie Hebdo shooting, and it has suffered four attacks so far. The most recent attack came from a man outside of the Louvre Museum, who tried to attack officers wielding a machete.
Source: NY Daily News