Hours after shooting a police officer in the face, a French man of North African descent was shot dead in Paris’ Orly Airport after seizing a security officer’s gun.
The attacker, 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, was wanted for questioning by police, and earlier in the day had opened fire on a police officer in a suburb of Paris during an identity check. He then abandoned his vehicle, which was found later, and hijacked a woman’s car at gunpoint.
At some point before being shot dead, he texted his father to tell him he’d shot at a police officer. His father and brother went in to a police station after receiving the text, and were detained, possibly for questioning or even connection to the attack.
At the airport, Belgacem hurled himself at security patrolmen, wrestling a female officer to the ground and seizing her rifle. He then fled into a McDonald’s where he was shot down by responding officers.
The incident took place a short 20 miles away from where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in town to visit survivors of the Bataclan nightclub terror attack that took place in December of 2015.
In the face of so much violence in the last few years in Paris, this is certainly an interesting case. The man was a French national rather than a migrant, and while this is currently being treated as a potential terrorist attack, it is still unclear whether or not that is the case.
Whatever the truth is behind his intent, thankfully no one else was killed. This is just one of many incidents of violence coming out of Europe in recent months, and a sobering reminder that simply closing borders might not solve the growing cultural divide in the region.