Terror suspect shot dead in Paris airport, probe ordered
PARIS, March 18, 2017
A terror suspect was shot dead at Paris Orly airport on Saturday after snatching a soldier's weapon and shooting at three police officers from a car prompting an evacuation of the entire airport, said media reports.
Anti-terror officials have launched an investigation into the incident after reports surfaced that the man was on a watch-list of radicalised individuals and had been involved in a shooting hours earlier in the north of Paris, reported The Guardian.
The airport has been shut after what the authorities described as an extremely serious incident.
French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the Orly attacker assaulted a patrol of three air force soldiers, one of whom was a woman.
The attacker wrestled her to the floor and tried to take her weapon, but she managed to keep hold of it. The two other soldiers then opened fire “to protect her” and passengers in the airport.
The soldiers were part of the Sentinelle special forces, an elite military group installed around France to protect sensitive sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.
The gunman launched his first attack after being stopped at a road check north of the city early this morning, shooting a policewoman in the head, before fleeing in a stolen car, reported Sky News.
He then drove to Orly airport where he wrestled a gun from a counter-terrorism soldier before running into a McDonald's restaurant, where he was shot dead by security forces.
The man was shot after he tried to grab a soldier’s weapon at the airport. Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said: “A man took a weapon from a soldier then hid in a shop in the airport before being shot dead by security forces.”
Less than two hours earlier, three police officers were shot at in a suburb in northern Paris by a gunman during a routine stop-and-search operation.
Bruno Le Roux, the interior minister, said the man shot dead at the airport was linked with a car-hijacking incident earlier on Saturday in a northern suburb of Paris. He said the man shot a police officer at a traffic stop before stealing the woman’s car at gunpoint.
Le Roux confirmed that the gunman was known by police and intelligence.
French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the French troops involved in the Sentinelle operation. The independent centrist said in a speech in Paris that the soldiers who were attacked in Orly airport “demonstrated one more time calm, control and professionalism”.
No explosive devices were found on the dead man’s body, an interior ministry spokesman said.
About 3,000 people were evacuated from both terminals at Orly and all flights have been suspended, with some diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport.
The policewoman was said to have been "lightly injured" by the shotgun attack and a spokesman for the Interior Minister said there had been no reports of any other injuries.