Video shows Paris airport attacker rushing soldier

In this image taken from security video, suspected Islamic extremist Ziyed Ben Belgacem, center left, holds a soldier after grabbing her from behind at Paris’ Orly airport, Saturday, March 18, 2017

AP

PARIS -- 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. 

The attacker, later identified as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, had just dropped his shopping bag, which authorities said contained a flask of gasoline. Holding a revolver loaded with birdshot, he pulls the soldier 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 in a mass as the attacker pulls his hostage toward them. 

Yelling that he wanted to kill and die for Allah, according to the Paris prosecutor, Belgacem can be seeing trying to wrestle away the soldier’s assault rifle. Belgacem was shot dead within three minutes during the standoff as he approached the small cluster of people. No one was injured at the airport. 

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In this image taken from security video, suspected Islamic extremist Ziyed Ben Belgacem, bottom left, holds a soldier after grabbing her from behind at Paris’ Orly airport, Saturday, March 18, 2017 

AP

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. 

In an interview Sunday with French radio Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect’s father said that Belgacem wasn’t a practicing Muslim and drank alcohol.