Thursday 14 December 2017

French soldiers shoot man dead at Paris airport amid ongoing security operation

French police forces secure Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot to death Saturday after trying to seize the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris' Orly Airport, prompting a partial evacuation of the terminal, police said. Authorities warned visitors to avoid the area while an ongoing police operation was underway. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
French police forces secure Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot to death Saturday after trying to seize the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris' Orly Airport, prompting a partial evacuation of the terminal, police said. Authorities warned visitors to avoid the area while an ongoing police operation was underway. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Military and emergency services outside Orly airport southern terminal after a shooting incident near Paris, France March 18, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Emergency services at Orly airport southern terminal after a shooting incident near Paris, France March 18, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
A traveling woman holds a baby outside the Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot dead after wrestling a soldier to the ground at Paris' Orly Airport and trying to take her rifle, officials said. No one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travelers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city's other airport. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
An elite police officer patrols at Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot to death Saturday after trying to seize the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris' Orly Airport, prompting a partial evacuation of the terminal, police said. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
Travelers wait outside the Orly airport , south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot dead after wrestling a soldier to the ground at Paris' Orly Airport and trying to take her rifle, officials said. No one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travelers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city's other airport. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Emergency vehicles arrive Orly airport southern terminal in Paris, France March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A man has been shot dead after wrestling a soldier to the ground at Paris's Orly Airport and trying to take her rifle, officials said.

No-one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travellers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city's other airport.

Police did not provide a motive for the attack but the Paris prosecutors' office said its anti-terrorism division was taking over the investigation.

Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the attacker assaulted three air force troops patrolling the airport. He said the soldier who was attacked managed to hold on to her rifle and the two soldiers she was with opened fire to protect her and the public.

A traveling woman holds a baby outside the Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot dead after wrestling a soldier to the ground at Paris' Orly Airport and trying to take her rifle, officials said. No one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travelers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city's other airport. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A traveling woman holds a baby outside the Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot dead after wrestling a soldier to the ground at Paris' Orly Airport and trying to take her rifle, officials said. No one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travelers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city's other airport. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Interior minister Bruno Le Roux said the man was linked with a carjacking earlier in the morning in a northern Paris suburb and that police and intelligence services know who he is.

In that incident, police said, a man fired birdshot at officers during a traffic stop, wounding one in the face. He then fled and stole a woman's car after threatening her with a weapon. That vehicle was found near Orly.

Police said only one man was involved in the airport attack and denied reports of a possible second attacker.

Officials said about 3,000 people were being evacuated from Orly, where passengers told of gunshots and panic.

An elite police officer patrols at Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot to death Saturday after trying to seize the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris' Orly Airport, prompting a partial evacuation of the terminal, police said. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
An elite police officer patrols at Orly airport, south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot to death Saturday after trying to seize the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris' Orly Airport, prompting a partial evacuation of the terminal, police said. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

A witness identified only as Dominque said on BFM television: "The soldiers took aim at the man, who in turn pointed the gun he had seized at the two soldiers."

Another man said three soldiers were targeted, and they tried to calm the man who seized the weapon. Then the man said he heard two gunshots.

Travelers wait outside the Orly airport , south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot dead after wrestling a soldier to the ground at Paris' Orly Airport and trying to take her rifle, officials said. No one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travelers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city's other airport. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Travelers wait outside the Orly airport , south of Paris, Saturday, March, 18, 2017. A man was shot dead after wrestling a soldier to the ground at Paris' Orly Airport and trying to take her rifle, officials said. No one else in the busy terminal was hurt, but thousands of travelers were evacuated and flights were diverted to the city's other airport. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The soldier who was attacked is part of the Sentinelle special force deployed around France to protect sensitive sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks. The force has 7,500 soldiers, half deployed in the Paris region and half in the provinces.

Orly is Paris's second-biggest airport behind Charles de Gaulle, serving domestic and international flights, notably to destinations in Europe and Africa.

The shooting came after a similar incident last month at the Louvre Museum in which an Egyptian man attacked soldiers guarding the site and was shot and wounded.

The latest attack further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.

It comes days before the first anniversary of attacks on Brussels airport and subway that killed 32 people and wounded hundreds.

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