A man was shot dead Saturday morning at Paris’s Orly airport after he rushed a group of soldiers and seized one of their firearms.Update 1045 GMT — Bomb squad clear airport, counter-terror police take over investigation
The first details about this morning’s assailant, whose attack is now officially being treated as a terror case following the assumption of responsibility for the case by counter-terror investigators, have now been released. Born February 1978, the 39-year-old male is known to police for drug offences and is suspected of having “self-radicalised” during a spell in prison.
The French national, who it is believed shot a police officer in the head with a shotgun before wrestling a military rifle from a soldier at Orly airport, had previously been under surveillance but that watch was curtailed. He has also at times been homeless.
In other developments, the French bomb squad have now completed their search of the airport and have declared it free from devices. It was previously believed the attacker may have been wearing an explosive vest, but this was not the case.
Update 1000 GMT — attack linked to earlier shooting
French police have now established a link between this morning’s attack at Paris Orly and an earlier shooting in Stains, Seine-Saint-Denis, a region well known as being the present epicentre of anti-government and anti-police sentiment among Paris’s migrant communities.
According to a report by BFMTV at 0655 CET police in Stains stopped a car for a roadside check, asking the driver for identification. After taking out his identification papers the driver also drew a weapon, reported by Le Soir to be a shotgun, and opened fire on officers.
One officer was hit in the head by the shots fired. The attacker then drove away, later abandoning his vehicle in Val de Marne, the Paris department which borders Orly airport. Stealing a car, the attacker is then reported to have driven to Orly airport, where it is believed the same individual grabbed a FAMAS military rifle from a soldier.
Although these reports have come to French media from a “police source”, official police spokesman have not yet confirmed an “absolute link” between the two events.
The story so far:
Paris Orly airport, located approximately seven miles to the south of the city centre was evacuated around 0830 CET Saturday after a man was shot dead by soldiers of operation Sentinel, the French counter-terrorism military deployment to the mainland.
French daily newspaper Le Figaro reports the individual rushed a group of three soldiers and was successful in wrestling one firearm, which he then took into an airport shop. The assailant was subsequently shot dead by “security forces”.
No passengers or members of the security servies are understood to have been injured in the incident.