A man has been shot dead after trying to seize a gun from a soldier at Orly airport, French police say. Security officials have evacuated the building and urged visitors to avoid the area.
French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the man ran into a shop inside the airport before he was shot dead on Saturday morning.
A bomb sweep was underway at the site to make sure the individual was not wearing an explosive belt, Brandet added.
The ministry also reported that a police officer was shot and injured in a separate incident north of Paris.
Emergency vehicles surrounded Orly airport as the elite RAID special police force secured the area.
Security officials evacuated part of the building and urged the public to keep clear while the police operation was underway.
“We were waiting in line to board the flight to Tel Aviv when we heard three or four gunshots nearby,” witness Franck Lecam told AFP. “The whole airport was evacuated.”
A national police official said the soldier accosted by the slain man was part of the Sentinel special force installed around France to protect sensitive sites after a series of deadly terror attacks.
The man’s motive wasn’t immediately clear. No one else was reported to have been harmed in the incident.
Minister of the Interior Bruno Le Roux was on his way to the airport, his office reported.
France remains under a state of emergency after several recent terror attacks. In November 2015 multiple terrorists killed 130 people in simultaneous attacks in Paris. In July 2016, an attacker drove a truck through crowds in Nice celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people.
Orly airport is south of Paris and is the French capital’s second-largest airport after Charles de Gaulle.
nm/rc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
CREDIT:GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT /AFP/GETTY IMAGES
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FRANCE COULD BE READY TO LIFT STATE OF EMERGENCY, SAYS JUSTICE MINISTER
France may be ready to drop its state of emergency, which has been in place since the deadly extremist attacks on Paris in November 2015.
In a speech Wednesday, Minister of Justice Jean-Jacques Urvoas said: “We have created the conditions that make it possible to exit the state of emergency, without weakening ourselves or remaining helpless in the face of the threat of terrorism,” French daily newspaper Le Figaroreports.
The state of emergency has dramatically increased the number and visibility of armed law enforcement officials on patrol across the country and tightened the laws on public assembly.
Its implementation proved controversial, with increased raids on Muslim communities in the immediate aftermath of the attacks attracting particular criticism from human rights groups.
Urvoas did not give any final date for returning to a lower state of alert, however it has to be approved on a bi-annual basis. The current extension ends in July – two months after France’s upcoming presidential election.