Man attacks security forces at Orly Airport in Paris

Terror struck France once again when a man assaulted a female police officer at Orly Airport near Paris on March 18. The assailant was identified as Ziyed Ben Belgacem. He shot three policemen during a regular pullover, injuring one of them. Minister of the Interior Bruno Le Roux reported that the assailant then went to a bar, where, under the threat of a gun, he stole a woman’s car. According to further reports, he proceeded to the airport, where he attacked a group of soldiers and attempted to steal the weapon of a female servicewoman. His attack was thwarted when the soldiers fatally shot him before he could carry out his plan. Le Monde reports that Belgacem shouted, “I’m here to die for Allah.” The attacker was not unknown to French authorities. He had a record of nine previous incidents of breaching public law and had received prison sentences for armed robbery and drug dealing. After several robberies in 2016, he was detained and was forbidden from leaving the country.

Moreover, L’Express further expands the attacker’s profile through testimonies of his neighbors. Most of them speak of a man closed to others that no one knew very well. The prosecutor of Paris adds that, although the man had no connections to terrorist organizations, there had been signs of radicalization.

Belgacem’s attack proved that authorities in France and the rest of Europe cannot afford to lower their guard to terrorism. A series of attacks that shocked the French capital ocurred in 2015. It is clear that the winner of the April-May presidential elections will need to take significant measures to eradicate any possible threats of Islamic radicalization to the French people.