Man gunned down at Paris airport
PARIS: Security forces shot dead a man who tried to seize a soldier’s gun at Paris Orly Airport yesterday, forcing the evacuation of the busy airport and putting security back in the spotlight in the middle of France’s presidential election campaign.
The man, identified as a 39year-old radicalised Muslim, who was already on the radar of police and intelligence services, had earlier shot and wounded a police officer with an air gun after a routine traffic stop north of Paris, officials said.
A police source identified the man only as Zied B. and said he was known to police for theft and drug offences.
An army spokesman said Zied B. was shot dead after a struggle with a female soldier on patrol in the airport terminal.
The man’s father and brother were taken into police custody, a judicial source said. BFM TV, without giving a source, said the attacker had texted his father saying: “I’ve screwed up. I’ve shot a policeman.”
President Francois Hollande said the case had been turned over to anti-terrorism prosecutors and a number of operations were under way.
Yesterday’s train of events began at Stains, near Le Bourget airport in northern Paris, where the man fled in a car after he shot and wounded a police officer at a road check.
Afterwards, he was involved in a carjacking in Vitry where he threatened customers of a bar, Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said.
At Orly, he tried to seize a rifle from a woman air force member who was patrolling the airport.
The man and the soldier fell to the ground after a violent attack, an army spokesman said.
In the ensuing struggle on the ground, other members of the patrol opened fire, killing him, an army spokesman said.
Yesterday’s attacks would have no impact on a trip to Paris by Prince William, second in line to the British throne, and his wife Catherine, who were due to end a two-day visit here yesterday, a British spokesman said.
Around 3,000 passengers were evacuated from Orly after the incident as security services sealed off the terminal and swept it for bombs, but no explosives were found.
No one else was injured at the airport.
Flights were suspended from both airport terminals and some flights were diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport, airport operator ADP said.
But normal flight operations were later said to be resuming, the Paris airports operator said. Reuters
Evacuees gathering outside the Paris Orly Airport yesterday. (Inset) Zied B. was shot dead by soldiers.
Police officers securing Paris Orly Airport yesterday.