20 Days Remaining

Monday 20th
posted by Morning Star in World

THE father of the slain Paris airport gunman said yesterday that his son was under the influence of drink or drugs, not radical Islam.

His comments on a radio programme hours after being released from police questioning came as Paris prosecutors said that coroners were testing Ziyed Ben Belgacem’s body for alcohol or drugs.

His brother and a cousin were still being questioned.

The father, whose name was not given, told Europe 1 radio: “My son was never a terrorist.

“He never attended prayers. He drank. But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up.”

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Mr Belgacem stopped at a bar in the small hours of Saturday before his first attack, when he shot a gendarme with a revolver loaded with birdshot.

A police search of his flat found traces of cocaine, Mr Molins said. Ninety minutes after shooting the gendarme, Mr Belgacem took a female soldier hostage at Orly airport and demanded her two comrades throw down their arms.

“I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there will be deaths,” he reportedly said, armed with his hostage’s rifle and a can of petrol.

His father confirmed Mr Molins’s assertion that Mr Belgacem had phoned him after the first incident.

“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,” he said.

“He told me: ‘I ask for your forgiveness. I’ve screwed up with a gendarme’.”

Mr Molins said that Mr Belgacem was on a watch list after being “radicalised” during a spell in detention from 2011- 2012 and had to report to police regularly over preliminary robbery charges last year.