Blood tests have revealed that a man, who shot dead after taking a soldier hostage at Paris’ Orly Airport, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Investigators are still trying to understand what motivated Saturday’s assault by 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, which led to a major security scare and the temporary closure of the capital’s second-busiest airport.
“Toxicology tests carried out on Sunday showed an alcohol level of 0.93 grams per liter in his blood, and the presence of cannabis and cocaine,” said a judicial source on Sunday.
A subsequent police search of Belgacem’s flat found cocaine, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.
Ben Belgacem, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, reportedly grabbed a soldier on patrol at Orly’s southern terminal on Saturday morning.
The attacker, who had also fired at police in a northern Paris suburb earlier that morning, was shot dead by two other soldiers after a scuffle.
Ben Belgacem’s father had insisted earlier Sunday that his son was “not a terrorist” and that his actions were caused by drink and drugs. “My son was not a terrorist,” the father told Europe 1 radio.
“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,” said the father. “He told me: ‘I ask for your forgiveness. I’ve screwed up with a gendarme.'”
The attack at Orly comes with France still on high alert following a wave of attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives in two years.
The violence has made security a key issue in France’s two-round presidential election on April 23 and May 7.