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Man Shot Dead At France’s Orly Airport After He Attempts To Steal Soldier’s Weapon

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French firefighters and police officers secure Orly airport outside Paris on Saturday following the shooting of a man by French security forces. The attacker was known to French authorities, and his home had been searched following attacks in 2015.

Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images


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Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

French firefighters and police officers secure Orly airport outside Paris on Saturday following the shooting of a man by French security forces. The attacker was known to French authorities, and his home had been searched following attacks in 2015.

Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

A man was shot and killed by soldiers at Orly Airport outside Paris this morning after he attacked a soldier and attempted to steal her rifle.

He wrestled one of the soldiers to the ground, but she held on to her weapon and the two soldiers she was with shot the attacker, said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley reports that French interior minister Bruno Le Roux said the man was the same person who had shot a police officer earlier in the day during a routine traffic stop, and who had then hijacked a car. “Le Roux confirmed that the 39-year-old man had a petty criminal record and that his house had previously been searched under expanded security measures granted by France’s state of emergency,” Beardsley reports.

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The Associated Press reports that the attacker has been identified as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old born in France. The Paris prosecutor’s office says that the suspect’s house was among many searched after attacks in November 2015 that killed 130 in Paris. The searches were aimed at those suspected of having radical leanings.

Anti-terrorism police are handling the investigation into the airport incident. The man’s father and brother have been taken into custody for questioning, Reuters reports.

“I salute the courage and efficiency of the police and military in the face of assaults committed by a particularly dangerous individual,” tweeted French president François Hollande.

The officer who was attacked was part of a special unit called Sentinelle, which was created in the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2015, the AP reports. The force numbers 7,500 soldiers — half in Paris, half in the provinces. This attack was the fourth attack on Sentinelle since its creation. More than 250 people have died in France in the last two years in attacks linked to groups allied with ISIS.

A similar event happened last month at the Louvre, when a machete-wielding man shouted “Allahu Akbar” and attacked a security patrol, before a soldier shot and wounded him.

Terminals at Orly Airport have now reopened. Some flights that landed while the incident unfolded sat on the tarmac for hours; other flights were rerouted to Charles de Gaulle, the larger airport in Paris.

France has been on high alert for more than a year. French presidential elections will take place in April and May, and this incident ensures that security will continue to be a major issue in the campaign.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/18/520651013/man-shot-dead-at-frances-orly-airport-after-he-attempts-to-steal-soldiers-weapon?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news



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