BY LORI HINNANT
PARIS (AP) — Video of a suspected Islamic extremist at Paris’ Orly Airport shows a soldier caught by surprise when an attacker drops a shopping bag and grabs her from behind.
The Associated Press has obtained security footage of Saturday’s attack, which caused panic and shut down the French capital’s second-biggest airport. It shows the attacker grabbing the soldier around the shoulders as her companion patrols slightly ahead.
He drops his shopping bag, which authorities said contained a flask of gasoline. Holding a revolver loaded with birdshot, he pulls her backward.
For a few moments, almost no one reacts. One passenger rolls a suitcase past the hostage soldier and the second soldier continues on his way. Then, suddenly, people start backing away en mass as the attacker pulls his hostage toward them.
Yelling that he wanted to kill and die for Allah, according to the Paris prosecutor, Ziyed Ben Belgacem can be seeing trying to wrestle away the soldier’s assault rifle near the small cluster of people.
The video shows Belgacem using her as a shield after he apparently manages to get control of the weapon, but he exposes himself by standing up, giving her comrades a clear shot to kill him. The hostage soldier crawls away from her attacker on her hands and knees.
The entire episode took less than three minutes. No one at the airport was injured. The footage was provided to the AP on the condition that the source not be revealed.
Earlier Saturday, a police officer was shot in the face with birdshot when officers stopped Belgacem for a traffic violation.
Authorities say Belgacem, a 39-year-old Frenchman, had a long criminal record of drug and robbery offenses.
Autopsy toxicology tests found traces of cocaine and cannabis in Belgacem’s blood, according to the Paris prosecutors’ office. He also had 0.93 grams of alcohol per liter of blood when he died Saturday, the prosecutors’ office said. That is nearly twice the legal limit for driving in France. Prosecutors said Belgacem was at a bar early Saturday.
In an interview Sunday with French radio Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect’s father said Belgacem wasn’t a practicing Muslim and drank alcohol.
John Leicester contributed to this report.
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