Saturday, 39-year-old Muslim terrorist Ziyed Ben Belgacem was shot and killed by the French military after attempting to wrestle away a soldier’s rifle with the intention of opening fire on commuters.
Belgacem managed to take a female air force member stationed at the airport hostage after putting down a bag containing a can of petrol. The terrorist then used the servicewomen as a human shield, putting his air pistol to her head. Proclaiming the cause of jihadist martyrdom, Belgacem shouted at the small army of surrounding soldiers with their guns drawn squarely on the terrorist.
"Put down your guns. Put your hands on your head,” he yelled, pointing his air pistol closer and closer to the female soldier’s head. “I am here to die for Allah. In any case, there will be deaths."
According to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, the terrorist attempted to take hold of the hostage’s Famas rifle in order to turn the airport into a bloodbath.
"Given the violence that is shown in the (CCTV) pictures ... you sense that he was determined to go through with it," Molins told reporters. "Everything leads one to believe he wanted to seize the Famas so that there were deaths, and then to fire at people."
Fortunately, French soldiers successfully shot and killed the attacker, freeing the servicewoman in the process.
Investigators later found a Koran and some cash on Belgacem's body. After raiding the attacker’s home, police also confiscated cocaine, a machete, and foreign currency. Based on the evidence acquired, police have taken Belgacem's father, brother, and a cousin into custody. The authorities are treating the incident as a terrorist attack, and launching an investigation into the deceased attacker’s potential jihadist links.
In fact, Belgacem was already known to authorities as a radicalized Muslim. Several years ago, he was charged with drug trafficking, serving a short stint in jail. He has been on the French police’s radar ever since.
The attacker’s exhaustive attempts to wage jihad Saturday morning certainly suggest that he was ready to kill innocents and carry-out an Islamic martyrdom operation.
Several hours earlier, Belgacem shot and wounded a police officer with his air pistol after a routine traffic stop north of Paris before fleeing, officials said. After the first incident, Belgacem called his father and brother saying he had done something stupid, the prosecutor said. Later he entered a bar in Vitry-sur-Seine on the other side of Paris and opened fire with his air gun without hitting anyone. He also stole a car before arriving at the airport.
The attack on France’s second-busiest airport comes just as French politicians begin campaigning for the presidential elections.
A disruptive wave of deadly Islamic terrorist attacks in France, which has taken the lives of 230 people since 2015, has given once-irrelevant far-right French politicians, including the National Front’s Marine Le Pen, a fighting chance in the upcoming presidential election. Fearful of the possibility that ISIS militants may be embedded in incoming Muslim migrant populations, many disillusioned French voters are looking for the state to tighten-up security at the border and enforce added restrictions on immigration.