Vickie Oliphant — Daily Express March 19, 2017
THE FATHER of the man accused of an attack at Paris Orly airport yesterday has insisted his son was “never a terrorist”.
And he claimed his 39-year-old son’s actions were the result of drink and drugs.
Career criminal Ziyed Ben Belgacem triggered a major scare at Orly international airport south of Paris on Saturday morning when wrestled a gun from a female soldier on patrol – before grabbing her and putting the rifle to her head.
As he declared he wanted to “die for Allah” and go on to kill others, he was gunned down by the soldier’s two colleagues.
The attack came just two hours after Belgacem, who had several convictions for armed robbery, fired on police after being pulled over for speeding after spending the night in a bar.
One officer was injured by the gun fire – but was reported to be recovering well from the incident.
A terrorist enquiry has now been launched into the two attacks and the death of Belgacem, who was only released from prison just months before.
And late last night police revealed three people – his cousin, father and brother – are being held in police custody.
Now his father – whose first name has not been released – has claimed his son was not a practicing Muslim, and had no links to terrorist groups
He said: “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.”
The father said that on the day of his death his son “called me at seven, eight in the morning and said, there you go, dad.
“He was extremely angry, even his mother couldn’t understand him.
“He told me ‘I ask for your forgiveness. I’ve screwed up with a gendarme’.”
The father, who was released from police custody on Sunday after being questioned, said his son phoned him minutes after the shooting “in a state of extreme agitation”.
“He said to me: ‘Daddy, please forgive me. I’ve screwed up with a police officer.’”
He then cut short the conversation and drove to the airport, stealing another car en route.
His father then presented himself at a police station, where he was later informed of his son’s death.
Belgacem’s brother and cousin, who also came forward for questioning Saturday, are still being quizzed by anti-terror investigators.
Born in Paris, the 39-year-old was already known to French authorities and had a string of convictions for theft and drug offences
In 2001, he was sentenced to five years in prison for armed robbery and in 2009, he was back in jail for drug trafficking.
Paris prosecutor Francois Mollins told reporters between 2011 and 2012 officials noticed “signs of radicalisation” in the inmate.
But he still was not considered a serious threat.