Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel had a long history of violence and mental illness, his family back in his homeland of Tunisia said, while insisting he showed no obvious signs of radicalization prior to Thursday’s attack that left at least 84 people dead.
“From 2002 to 2004 he had problems that led to a nervous breakdown,” his father Mohamed Mondher Lahouaiej Bouhlel told several French channels in an interview outside his home, while brandishing his son’s clinical evaluations before the cameras.
“He’d get angry and shout and break everything around him. He was violent and very ill. We took him to the doctor and he was put on drugs. Whenever there was a crisis, we took him back again. He was always alone. Always silent, refusing to talk. Even in the street, he wouldn’t greet people.”
According to his father, after moving to France, Lahouaiej Bouhlel had “no connection with religion. He didn’t fast or keep Ramadan. He drank. He even took drugs.”
In what may not be a coincidence, the men responsible for the Paris attacks last November also had a similar history of low-paying jobs, petty crime, drinking, and gambling, before apparently rapidly converting to the Islamist cause just months before their deaths.
Although he last saw his family in Tunisia in 2012 when he traveled back for his sister’s wedding, in recent weeks Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s behavior radically changed.
“Over the past month, he was calling us every day and he sent us money… He called several times a day,” explained Rebab.
His brother Jaber Bouhlel told the Daily Mail that the family received 240,000 Tunisian dinar (almost $110,000) from Mohamed in the past few weeks – a surprisingly large sum for a low-paid deliveryman.
“He used to send us small sums of money regularly like most Tunisians working abroad. But then he sent …