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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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France continues crusade against terror: Gunman shot dead at Paris’ Orly airport after causing scare

Radicalized Muslim known to intelligence services

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PARIS, France - The second largest airport in the French capital, Paris - Orly airport witnessed an incident that caused panic amongst passengers and staff alike after a gunman entered the airport and was confronted. > BNN

The gunman, identified by police sources as a “radicalized Muslim known to intelligence services” was first seen in Stains, at a road check in Paris' northern outskirts earlier on Saturday morning. 

Authorities said that the man was driving a Clio car and he shot at a police officer, when three officers stopped the car. 

He presented his identity papers, then pulled out a gun and opened fire. He even injured a female officer on the head at the road check and then headed to the airport to take refuge in a cafe there. 

Police later found the Clio car abandoned in Paris' south-eastern suburbs, Vitry-sur-Seine - along with a bloody t-shirt.

Le Parisien also reported that the man then stole a Citroen Picasso car and drove to Orly airport, where that vehicle was found abandoned in a car park.

An hour later, at the airport, he targeted a soldier with a knife and tried to grab the soldier’s weapon. He was subsequently killed by security forces. 

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet confrimed, "The man succeeded in seizing the weapon of a soldier. He was quickly neutralised by the security forces."

Soon after, anti-terror commandos from France’s elite Raid force evacuated the airport that had an estimated 3,000 people inside and conducted a sweep of the entire premises to look for accomplices or explosives. 

Later, the French Interior Minister confirmed that no explosives had been found on the man’s body or elsewhere inside the airport. 

In the melee, all flights in an out of Orly were suspended, the airport was shut down and all roads around it were blocked. 

Arrivals to Orly were being diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport or other airports.

Meanwhile, terrified passengers were told to flee when they heard gunshots in the airport’s south terminal. 

Authorities later confirmed that the same man had been involved in both the incidents from the morning. 

Le Parisien newspaper quoted a 54-year-old passenger, Franck Lecam as saying, “We were waiting in line for a flight to Tel Aviv when we heard three or four gunshots nearby. The whole airport was evacuated. There are policemen, emergency workers and soldiers everywhere in all directions."

He told the newspaper that a security official at the airport told him the incident occurred near check-in desks where Turkish Airlines flights were scheduled.

Commenting on the incident, France's Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian said, "Three soldiers patrolling at Orly airport this morning were attacked by an individual ... (2 men, 1 woman). Woman was attacked by individual. Individual tried to take her weapon. She was able to hold to her weapon. 2 other soldiers shot at individual to protect her. I congratulate them."

Reports pointed out that the attack came on the same day as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were making an official visit to France, where they were due to meet with victims and first responders from the deadly 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

French President Francois Hollande's office released a statement post the incident, saying that the government would "act relentlessly to fight terrorism, to defend the security of our compatriots and to ensure the protection of the territory."

The statement added, “Vigilance would be maintained at its highest level.”

France has been under a state of emergency, following the constant threat from ISIS and a series of deadly terror attacks across the country.

Over 7,500 soldiers are currently stationed around the country.

 

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