Orly airport terrorist texted his father after attacking police officer

Jasmine Andersson
French police raid airport attacker house

The Orly airport terrorist wrote a chilling text to his father after he shot a female police officer in the face with an air rifle, before attempting to carry out an attack on the Parisian airport.

"I've screwed up, I've shot a policeman," wrote the man identified as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old "career criminal" who lived in the Parisian suburbs.

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The policewoman was shot by Belgacem when she asked to see his ID in Stains, in the northern outskirts of Paris, at around 6am. The official was injured, but has survived the attack.

The terrorist then hijacked a car to get to the Parisian airport. He then wrestled a female member of the French Air Force to the floor in an attempt to grab her gun at the airport south of Paris a couple of hours later.

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Two soldiers shot Belgacem in response.

Described by the French media as a "career criminal", Belgacem was on a terror watch list, and had convictions for armed robbery and drug offences, confirmed Reuters.

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He had been known to police and intelligence services for months and had more than 40 offences on his record. The convicted criminal was released from Fresnes prison in Novemeber 2016, and had spent 15 years in prison for various crimes, according to French television channel Europe1.

"We can link the [airport attacker's] identity with a check carried out at Garges Les Gonesse by a patrol in Stains this morning at 6.50am (5.50am GMT)," he added.

"The individual's identity is known to the police and intelligence services."

Belgacem's father and brother have also been taken in for questioning. His home in the northern Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse has been raided during the investigation.

"The two other airmen in the patrol opened fire to protect their comrade and protect nearby members of the public," said Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defence minister.

"They reacted with great professionalism and remarkable composure."

France remains on high alert following a string of terror attacks directed and inspired by Islamic State. Following the Nice terror attack and the November 2015 attacks, 235 people have been killed in by terrorists in the country.

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