French Airport Attacker Wanted to Die in Name of Allah

'Whatever happens, there will be deaths'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2017 2:55 PM CDT
French Airport Attacker Wanted to Die in Name of Allah
Travellers walk on the highway to the Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. French police say a man was shot to death after trying to seize the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris' Orly Airport.    (Thibault Camus)

The man who attacked a soldier and was killed by her colleagues at Orly Airport in France yelled that he wanted to die in the name of Allah and "whatever happens, there will be deaths," Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference Saturday. The AP reports Molins said the attacker held a pistol to the soldier's head, used her as a shield, and succeeded in a struggle to wrest away her powerful military-grade assault rifle. He said the attacker apparently aimed to use it to shoot people in the busy Paris airport. He says the attacker, identified as French-born Ziyed Ben Belgacem, also carried a container of gasoline that he tossed to the ground.

The Paris prosecutors' office says the 39-year-old Belgacem had already crossed authorities' radar for suspected Islamic extremism. Prosecutors say that the suspect's house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings. After the airport attack on Saturday, the suspect's father and brother were detained by police for questioning—part of standard police operations in such cases. French President Francois Hollande says investigators will determine whether Belgacem "had a terrorist plot behind him." (Read more France stories.)

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