Video captures terrifying moment Paris airport attacker grabbed soldier

The moment a suspected Islamic extremist grabbed a soldier from behind at Paris's Orly Airport has been captured on video.

The security footage, obtained by the Associated Press, shows 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.

He drops his shopping bag, which authorities said contained a flask of fuel.

Holding a revolver loaded with birdshot, he pulls her backwards.

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 en masse as the attacker pulls his hostage towards them.

Yelling that he wanted to kill and die for Allah, according to the Paris prosecutor, Ziyed Ben Belgacem can be seeing trying to wrestle away the soldier's assault rifle near the small cluster of people.

The video shows the attacker using her as a shield after he apparently manages to get control of the weapon, but he exposes himself by standing up, giving her comrades a clear shot to kill him.

The hostage soldier crawls away from her attacker on her hands and knees.

The entire episode took less than three minutes.

No-one at the airport was injured.

Earlier on 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 offences.

Post-mortem 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 litre of blood when he died on Saturday, the prosecutors' office said.

That is nearly twice the legal limit for driving in France.

Prosecutors said Belgacem was at a bar early on Saturday.

In an interview on Sunday with French radio station Europe 1, a man identified as the suspect's father said Belgacem was not a practising Muslim and drank alcohol.

- AP

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