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Terrorism is suspected as attacker is killed at Paris airport


French anti-terrorism authorities are leading the investigation into the Saturday incident at Paris Orly Airport that left an alleged attacker dead and shut down two terminals.

"Toxicology tests carried out on Sunday showed an alcohol level of 0.93 grams per litre in his blood, and the presence of cannabis and cocaine", the source said, a day after the incident at the French capital's second-busiest airport.

Belgacem, who was born in France to Tunisian parents, had also walked into a bar in the city's southern suburbs and fired a pistol several times without hitting any customers. Two other soldiers shot him dead.

Meanwhile, Paris Orly Airport was evacuated while it was searched by bomb disposal squads.

"Under the influence of alcohol and cannabis - that's where you end up", the assailant's father told French radio broadcaster Europe 1.

According to soldiers, the attacker yelled: "Put down your weapons".

Police said they also questioned and released a brother and cousin of Belgacem.

He said his son phoned him to say before the attack: "I ask your forgiveness".

The 39-year-old had a blood alcohol level of 0.93 grams per litre, nearly twice the legal driving limit in France, and had also taken cannabis and cocaine, AFP news agency reported, citing judicial sources.

Police did not provide a motive for the attack, but the Paris prosecutors office said an investigation is being handled by the anti-terror division.

French police said they later found a gas canister, lighter and copy of the Quran inside his backpack. He reportedly said he wanted to "die for Allah" while pointing a gun to her head.

A spokesman for the Paris airport authority said that the backlog of travellers stranded by the chaos had been cleared and that passengers were experiencing only "slight delays".

The unit attacked at the airport was part of Operation Sentinel, which involves about 7,000 soldiers who patrol public areas in France, including high-profile locations like airports, areas near large tourist attractions and train stations. It handles most domestic fights and some global ones and served 31.2 million passengers in 2016, according to the Paris Airport Authority. One police officer suffered minor injuries.

Mr Molins said Belgacem was out on bail, banned from leaving France and obliged to report regularly to police, having been handed preliminary charges for robberies in 2016.

But he ruled out any link between the attack and the two-round French presidential election in April and May, noting that France has been battling extremist threats for years.

Around 08:30 local time Saturday, a man stormed the Orly airport and managed to snatch a gun from a military woman from Sentinelle operation, whom he took hostage.