Paris Orly Airport: Father of gunman says son 'not a terrorist'

France has been on high alert in the wake of deadly terror attacks

On Saturday, 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, entered the Orly airport and grabbed a soldier, putting a gun to her head.

The shooting at Orly prompted a partial evacuation of the airport, the diversion of all flights and a security sweep to determine whether the assailant had left any explosives at the airport's two terminals, officials said.

Toxicology tests conducted on Belgacem's body revealed that he had almost twice the legal limit of alcohol for driving in France in his blood as well as "traces of cocaine and cannabis" in his system.

The father was released from police custody overnight on Saturday, while Belgacem's brother and a cousin were released later on Sunday.

The drama, which caused no injuries apart from the lightly-wounded traffic police officer, further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks in the past two years that have killed 235 people.

More than 230 people have died in France in the past two years at the hands of attackers allied to the militant Islamist group Islamic State, whose strongholds in Syria and Iraq are being bombed by an global coalition including France. He would never pray.

He said he had received a phone call from Belgacem after his initial attack in which he said: "Dad, please forgive me". Amal Bentousi, whose brother Amine was shot in the back and killed in 2012 while fleeing police, said, "My brother's murderer was convicted but still for many families, this is not the case".

He reportedly shouted that he was "here to die for Allah" but a man identified as his father told French radio at the weekend that his son had "never been a terrorist".

A spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office said Saturday morning that its anti-terrorism unit and the French Intelligence Service had opened an investigation into the events.

Around 08:30 local time Saturday, a man stormed the Orly airport and managed to snatch a gun from a military woman from Sentinelle operation, whom he took hostage. "He drank. And under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up", he said. Molins said he was out on bail, banned from leaving France and obliged to report regularly to police, having been handed preliminary charges for robberies in 2016.

At around 8:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET), Belgacem headed inside the airport's southern terminal where he nearly immediately encountered a military patrol, the prosecutor said. "And, under the influence of alcohol and cannabis, this is what happens".

He had also injured a policewoman earlier that morning, shooting her in the face with an air pistol after being stopped for speeding north of Paris.

Ben Belgacem later appeared at the bar where he had been the previous night, firing more shots and stealing another auto before continuing on to the airport.

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