France investigates terror link to Orly attack

Man killed while trying to steal soldier's gun at Paris Orly Airport

Belgacem arrived at the airport and attacked a military patrol in the south terminal.

The anti-terrorism prosecutor is investigating the motives and circumstances of Saturday's attack and the existence of any accomplices, according to a presidential statement.

Investigation showed Ben Belgacem was also behind a shooting targeting security officers during a routine road check at about 6:55 a.m. (0555 GMT) Saturday at Stains northern Paris, before being involved in a carjacking in another Paris suburb Vitry where he also threatened customers of a bar.

French prosecutor Francois Molins said Belgacem had been flagged as having been radicalised during a spell in detention in 2011-2012.

The father of the Orly Airport attacker said his son called him before the assault to beg for forgiveness.

An army spokesman said he was shot dead after a struggle with a female soldier on patrol in the airport terminal after he had earlier shot and wounded a police officer with an air pistol during a police check on the opposite side of Paris.

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

François Fillon, of the centre-right Republican party, said: "Tribute to the men and women of Sentinel who work for our security and once again displayed courage and efficiency".

Prosecutors said Belgacem's father had been released from police custody on Saturday night, but his brother and a cousin were still being questioned. "I've screwed up with a gendarme [police officer]".

All flights are being redirected from the airport, and reporter Jake Cigainero in Paris tells NPR's Newscast that police "have completely evacuated the airport and suspended all traffic". The whole scene unfolded in just a couple of minutes, Molins said.

The incident comes as France remains on high alert following a series of extremist attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives since January 2015.

At that point shots were fired and the man was killed.

His house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

The vehicle was later found abandoned.

Police say he then stole a auto at gunpoint from a woman at Vitry, south of Paris.

At around 8:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET), Belgacem headed inside the airport's southern terminal where he nearly immediately encountered a military patrol, the prosecutor said. A bloodied t-shirt and identification documents were later found inside the auto.

A man has been shot dead after grabbing a soldier's gun at Orly airport in Paris, the BBC reported Saturday. The force includes 7,500 soldiers, half deployed in the Paris region and half in the provinces. Two soldiers opened fire on the man as he attacked, killing him.

Related News: