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French Investigators Seek Motive in Orly Airport Attack

French Investigators Seek Motive in Orly Airport Attack

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Ben Belgacem appeared to have become caught up in a "sort of headlong flight that became more and more destructive".

The official said the French-born 39-year-old was flagged for suspected radicalism during a previous spell in prison.

Ben Belgacem's brother and cousin were released Sunday after they, like the attacker's father, were held for questioning. He was shot dead by soldiers after saying he wants to "die for Allah" whilst pointing a gun at a soldier's head at Orly airport.

The suspect then commandeered a gray Citroen and headed to Orly airport.

The attack forced Orly to shut down, sent passengers fleeing in panic and trapped hundreds aboard flights that had just landed.

French terrorism investigators will lead the inquiry into the attacks, Molins said.

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". His flat was among dozens raided during the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people. "But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up", the father said.

"He called me at seven, eight in the morning and said, 'There you go, Papa.' He was extremely angry, even his mother couldn't understand him", the man identified as the father said on Europe 1.


"The two minutes [of confrontation] with the soldiers demonstrate quite clearly the very strong determination of the attacker", Mr Molins said.

Despite this statement and the fact that the investigation is conducted by the anti-terrorist section of the prosecution, Molins did not describe the act as a terrorist act and asserted that the future investigations will allow to define the motivations of the individual.

Paris is on high alert after yesterday's two attacks. A police officer is said have suffered non-life threatening injuries after Belgacem stole his gun and shot him.

Identity documents found on the attacker matched those presented by the man who fired at police in Garges-les-Gonesse. the stolen auto was found at Orly.

French police stand outside Orly airport, south of Paris, on Saturday, March, 18, 2017.

Belgacem, 39, caused widespread panic on Saturday when he opened fire on three police officers at a checkpoint in the north of Paris, hijacked a vehicle, and then attacked the military patrol in the South Terminal at Paris' Orly Airport.

He was then shot dead by two other soldiers.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was the fourth time that soldiers from Operation Sentinelle, the security operation set up after three assailants killed 17 people over three days in Greater Paris in January 2015, had come under direct attack.