Man shot dead at French airport

A man has been shot dead after seizing a rifle from a soldier guarding Orly Airport in Paris.

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 10:08 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:57 am
An elite police officer enters the Orly airport departure terminal, 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)

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 are investigating whether the incident was linked to a shooting earlier on Saturday during a traffic stop north of the capital.

Officers said a man fired birdshot at officers who stopped him, wounding one in the face. He fled and stole a woman’s car after threatening her with a weapon, and the vehicle was found near Orly.

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Police said only one man was involved in the airport attack and denied reports of a possible second attacker. No information about the dead man or any other injuries was available, a police official said.

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

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.

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 includes 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.