French security forces shot dead a terrorism suspect who seized a female soldier’s gun at Paris Orly airport on Saturday. The same man had shot and injured another policeman north of the French capital, the French Interior Ministry said.
A bomb sweep took place at the airport to make sure the dead man was not wearing an explosive belt, but nothing was found, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.
“The man succeeded in seizing the weapon of a soldier. He was quickly neutralised by the security forces,” Brandet said.
Reports said the French authorities have linked the two events. They were committed by the same man, a 40 year-old a radicalised Muslim who had been on security watch.
Terrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation into the assault, which comes after a series of Isis-inspired attacks across France.
The first shooting came at around 7am local time (6am GMT) in Stains, when the man was stopped by police at a security checkpoint.
“It turned bad and the individual shot at the officers before fleeing,” a police source told Reuters.
“This same man – a radicalised Muslim known to intelligence services and the justice system – then took a Famas (assault weapon) from a soldier at Orly’s southern terminal ..before being shot dead by a soldier.”
The car stopped in Stains was a Renault Clio, which was later abandoned for a Citroen Picasso hijacked at gunpoint. The car was found at Orly airport.
The incidents come weeks before France holds presidential elections on 23 April.
The country remains on high alert after attacks by Islamic State militants killed scores of people in the last two years and a state of emergency is in place until at least the end of July.
Around 3,000 passengers were evacuated from the airport, the second busiest in the country.
Flights were suspended from both terminals of the airport and some flights were diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport north of the capital, airport operator ADP said.