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Man Shot Dead in Paris Orly Airport Security Scare | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French police and firefighters secure the area at Paris’ Orly airport on March 18. AFP

Security forces shot dead a man who grabbed a soldier’s weapon at Paris Orly airport on Saturday soon after the same suspect was involved in a shooting of a police officer north of the French capital, the interior minister said.

The man was known to police and intelligence services, Interior Minister Bruno le Roux told reporters. A police source described him as an extremist but did not identify him by name.

The anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.

The busy Orly airport south of Paris was evacuated and security forces swept the area for bombs to make sure the dead man was not wearing an explosive belt, but nothing was found, interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told Reuters.

“The man succeeded in seizing the weapon of a soldier. He was quickly neutralized by the security forces,” Brandet said.

No one else was injured at the airport.

Around 3,000 passengers were evacuated from the airport, the second busiest in the country. Flights were also suspended from both terminals and some were diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport north of the capital.

But once the search of Orly airport was complete, passengers who had been blocked aboard 13 flights were unloaded, the head of the Paris airports company, Augustin de Romanet, said.

About 90 minutes before the airport attack, the same man travelling by car opened fire during a routine stop-and-search operation, slightly wounding one officer in the face in Stains, north of Paris, police said.

He fled by threatening a motorist with a weapon and stealing her car, which was later found at Orly Airport.
His father and brother were taken into police custody, a judicial source said.

France remains on high alert after attacks by ISIS militants killed scores of people in the last two years. A state of emergency is in place until at least the end of July.

The soldier whose gun the man tried to seize was a member of the army’s “Sentinelle” operation responsible for patrolling airports and guarding religious sites since January 2015.

The operation involves some 7,000 troops of whom roughly half are deployed in the Paris region.