Man Killed at Paris Airport Was Involved in Earlier Carjacking, Shooting

A man was shot to death Saturday after trying to seize the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris' Orly Airport, prompting a partial evacuation of the terminal, police said. Put your hands on your head. "In any case people are going to die".

About 16 minutes later, Belgacem assaulted the soldier.

Then he said he saw people rushing out of the terminal. Two other patrolmen opened fire "to protect her".

Le Drian had said the soldier kept hold of her weapon. "He drank. And under the effects of alcohol and cannabis, this is where one ends up", he said.

Witnesses described panicked bystanders fleeing, flights halting, traffic chaos and planes under lockdowns.

President François Hollande said the incident demonstrated that the ongoing national security operation - which has placed extra security forces at airports, train stations and other public places - is "absolutely essential" to keep people safe.

The prosecutor said the attacker held a pistol to the soldier's head in the Saturday morning attack and used her as a shield.

By early afternoon, Orly-Ouest had reopened and flights had started to resume. After the security authorities' clearance, the situation was brought to normalcy.

Separately, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said it was "possible", but had yet to be established, that the incident could be called a terrorist attack.

Prosecutors said they opened an anti-terror investigation.

The father and brother of Egyptian Belgacem were subsequently interviewed by police.

The man's father, who was released from police custody on Sunday after being questioned, said his son phoned him immediately after the shooting "in a state of extreme agitation".

Blood samples taken during Sunday's autopsy were to be screened for drugs and alcohol, the prosecutors' office said. He was also flagged as having been radicalized during a spell in detention from 2011-2012, Molins said.

Intelligence agents searched his home in Garges-les-Gonesse, north of Paris, for evidence of Islamist sympathies, but reportedly found nothing.

Police did not provide a motive for the attack but the Paris prosecutors' office said its anti-terrorism division was taking over the investigation. He ruled out any link between the attack and the upcoming two-round French presidential election in April and May, noting that France has been battling extremist threats for years.

At a Saturday evening news conference, Molins gave reporters a timeline for Belgacem's last hours.

Paris-born Belgacem was stopped by three police officers as he drove a white vehicle in Garges-lès-Gonesse, to the north of the city at around 6:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. ET) on Saturday. Flights headed to Orly were also diverted to another nearby airport.

Around 08:30 local time Saturday, a man stormed the Orly airport and managed to snatch a gun from a military woman from Sentinelle operation, whom he took hostage.

It involves some 7,000 troops of whom roughly half are deployed in the Paris region.

The incident comes as France remains in a state of emergency following a series of terrorist attacks, including a deadly November 2015 massacre in Paris and a truck ramming attack in Nice in July 2016.

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