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News Worms


Man killed after trying to grab soldier's gun at Paris airport

Man killed after trying to grab soldier's gun at Paris airport

A man who attacked a soldier at Orly Airport outside Paris Saturday was fatally shot in what the Paris prosecutor's office said it was investigating as a possible act of terrorism.

Paris' Orly airport has been evacuated after security forces shot and killed a man who seized the weapon of a soldier on guard.

The chain of events started when the man was stopped by police in a routine identity check at 6:50 a.m.in the Paris suburb of Garges-lès-Gonesse, Bruno Le Roux, the interior minister, said.

According to Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins, the suspect had been imprisoned several times on violence and theft convictions, including one five-year stint that began in 2009. "He drank. But under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up", said the father.

Before the attack at the airport, Belgacem had opened fire on a police officer at a checkpoint in the northern Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse and had later stolen a vehicle. He drew a gun and fired shots at the officers, slightly injuring one in the head, before fleeing.

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Those soldiers were part of a military patrol stationed at the airport as part of the country's "Sentinelle" security program, which has deployed special forces troops at various sensitive locations throughout France following the series of deadly terrorist attacks that have struck the country since 2015.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said a subsequent police search of Belgacem's apartment found cocaine.

But normal flight operations were later said to be resuming, the Paris airports operator said.

Belgacem was born in Paris, according to the prosecutor.

Saturday's train of events began at Stains, near Le Bourget airport in northern Paris, where the man fled in a vehicle after he shot and wounded a police officer at a road check.

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He abandoned the auto, hijacked another vehicle at gunpoint and drove to the airport.

Belgacem's family have been released after they voluntarily approached French police for questioning.

Molins said Belgacem was flagged as having been radicalized during a spell in detention from 2011-2012. He was shot dead by two other soldiers before he was able to fire the military-grade weapon.

These include coordinated bombings and shootings in November 2015 in Paris when 130 people were killed and scores injured.

Passengers were allowed off their blocked planes around noon, once a search of the airport was complete, but the airport's South Terminal did not reopen until late afternoon, authorities said.

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Before attacking the soldier at the airport, Ben Belgacem "threw to the ground a backpack containing a can of petrol", Mr Molins said, adding the man had in his pocket a packet of cigarettes and a lighter, €750 (Dh2,960) and a Quran.

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