Belfast Telegraph

Post-mortem on suspect shot dead at Paris airport

By John Leicester

A post-mortem has been carried out to determine whether a suspected Islamic extremist was drunk or high on drugs when he took a soldier hostage at Orly Airport in Paris, before being shot dead.

The suspect, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, stopped at a bar in the early hours of Saturday morning, about four hours before he first fired bird shot at traffic police.

Then, 90 minutes later, he attacked the military patrol at Orly, causing panic and the shutdown of the French capital's second-biggest airport.

A subsequent police search of his flat found cocaine, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

In a radio interview yesterday, a man identified as the suspect's father said Belgacem was not a practising Muslim and drank alcohol.

"My son was never a terrorist. He never attended prayer. He drank. But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up," said the father. Radio station Europe 1 did not give his name.

The Paris prosecutor's office, which is in charge of the probe, said yesterday that Belgacem's father was released from police custody overnight.

His brother and a cousin were still being questioned. Blood samples taken during yesterday's post-mortem were to be screened for drugs and alcohol, the prosecutor's office said.

The 39-year-old Frenchman had a long criminal record, with multiple jail terms for drugs and robbery offences.

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