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Drugs, alcohol found in Orly assailant's blood

An autopsy has revealed Ziyed Ben Belgacem's blood alcohol concentration was nearly twice the legal limit. French presidential candidates commented on the nation's security situation in the wake of the shooting.

Judicial sources confirmed on Sunday night that Belgacem had been under the influence of alcohol, as well as cannabis and cocaine, at the time of Saturday's shootings.

Post-mortem toxicology tests revealed the 39-year-old had a blood alcohol level of 0.93 grams per liter. The legal driving limit for standard drivers in France is 0.5 grams per liter. 

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Orly attacker was under the influence of drugs

Officers had previously found a machete and cocaine during a search of Belgacem's house.

The results of the autopsy came later in the same the day that Belgacem's father, who had been questioned in relation to the shooting and subsequently released by police, rebutted accusations that his son was a terrorist. He instead rooted his son's violent actions in the consumption of alcohol and drugs.

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

Searching for a motivation

The Parisian-born Belgacem had a known police record for theft and drug trafficking. Before Saturday's attacks, he had spent multiple stints in prison, where authorities believe he may have been radicalized.

Paris Flughafen Orly Terror PK Staatsanwalt Francois Molins (Getty Images/AFP/T. Samson)

Prosecutor Molins' team is investigating whether Belgacem was radicalized in French prison

After opening fire during a routine traffic stop in a northern Paris suburb on Saturday and slightly injuring a police officer, Belgacem drove to the Orly airport in a stolen car. Prosecutor Francois Molins claimed Belgacem grabbed a female airport soldier's weapon and yelled his willingness "to die for Allah" before being shot dead by security forces.

Investigators are searching for information relating to the attacks, such as the extent of Belgacem's radicalization and whether he had premeditated the shootings or acted spontaneously. So far, they have not found any indications of accomplices.

Presidential candidates comment on national security

The shootings have further shaken a France already on edge from a series of terrorist attacks over the past two years that have left over 235 individuals dead. The nation has been under a continued state of emergency since the coordinated Paris attacks of November 2015, making security a key issue in the upcoming French presidential elections in April and May of this year.

Read: What you need to know about the French presidential election

Frankreich Wahlkampf Francois Fillon in Aubervilliers (picture-alliance/abaca/L. Christian)

Francois Fillon would not lift France's state of emergency

In a possible foreshadowing of Monday's televised presidential debate, the top-polling candidates commented on Sunday on the France's state of security.

The embattled conservative candidate Francois Fillon expressed his opposition to ending the state of emergency and described France as in a "situation of virtual civil war."

Likewise, rival and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron told French television that maintaining the state of emergency was "essential." The frontrunner also promised to boost military and intelligence operations by creating a permanent action task force.

The far-right and strong Islam opponent Marine Le Pen criticized the current government, describing conservative Francois Hollande's socialist government as "overwhelmed, stunned, paralyzed like a rabbit in the headlights" at a political rally.

cmb/rc (dpa,  Reuters, AFP)

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