Drugs, alcohol found in Orly airport gunman's blood

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said late on Saturday that the man, named as 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, had shouted he was there to "die for Allah" when he tried to seize a gun from a woman air force member on patrol at Orly airport. Such a weapon could inflict harm but would not usually be lethal.

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.

French authorities are treating the attack at Orly airport as a terrorist incident, and have placed three people in custody. "I've screwed up with a police officer'".

Youssef Mouhajra a taxi driver who was picking up passengers when he heard shots, which he said he first thought was just warning shots.

The anti-terror prosecutor has opened an investigation, Thibault-Lecuivre said.

The attack came around two hours after Ben Belgacem, who had several convictions for armed robbery, fired on police after being pulled over for speeding after spending the night in a bar. In Vitry, he also "burst into a bar and threatened those present", Mr Le Roux said.

Tests on the body of a man shot dead at a Paris airport after attacking soldiers have revealed that he was almost twice over the drink-drive limit and had taken cannabis and cocaine.

According to the soldiers, Belgacem yelled: "Put down your weapons! At the end of the day, I'm the one paying the price", the man told Europe 1.

The soldiers at Orly were part of Operation Sentinel - involving thousands of soldiers deployed to provide back-up to the police after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015 and the Paris attacks of November 2015.

The shootings have further shaken a France already on edge from a series of terrorist attacks over the past two years that have left over 235 individuals dead. The French interior minister praised the swift response of security forces at the airport.

Identity documents found on the attacker matched those presented by the man who fired at police in Garges-les-Gonesse. It had been noted by the authorities at the time - and was on probation prior to the attack.

"The individual was known to the police and judicial services".

As he declared he wanted to "die for Allah" and go on to kill others, he was gunned down by the soldier's two colleagues.

Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist, said the military "once again showed their professionalism this morning in Orly".

Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate for the far-right Front National party, said: "France brimming over with violence, a effect of the lax successive governments. But there is the bravery of our soldiers!"

Witnesses had described the scene and told the AFP news agency that the airport was evacuated soon after the shooting. No explosives were found, said the report. Traffic was jammed near the airport and people wheeled suitcases down the road. Some earlier flights were rerouted to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport. The incident disrupted the travel plans of 5,000 to 6,000 passengers.

Both the west and the south terminals were closed during the security operation.

  • Elsie Buchanan