After attempting to seize a French soldier’s rifle at Paris’ Orly Airport, a man was fatally shot early Saturday morning.
According to The Washington Post, the assailant had previously hijacked a woman’s car at gunpoint in a suburb of Paris, lightly wounding a police officer in the process.
The incident is now being investigated by the Paris prosecutor’s anti-terrorism office and the investigation is ongoing. The name of the attacker has not yet been disclosed.
Currently, there are conflicting reports as to whether the attacker was able to seize control of the soldier’s weapon. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian claimed that the soldier was able to maintain possession of the rifle, while Pierre-Henri Brandet, the spokesman for France’s Interior Ministry, said the attacker was able to seize the weapon.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 18, 2017
A witness interviewed on France’s BFM television appeared to corroborate the later story, saying, “The soldiers took aim at the man, who in turn pointed the gun he had seized at the two soldiers.”
The soldier who was attacked is a part of France’s Operation Sentinel, an operation intended to boost the country’s security apparatus in the wake of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack. Some 10,000 armed and uniformed French soldiers now patrol the country’s most at-risk sights, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Orly Airport, where Saturday’s attack was stopped.
Two other Sentinel soldiers opened fire on Saturday morning to quickly end the incident with no injuries to any bystanders. Saturday’s incident echoes an attack last month at the Louvre, where a Sentinel soldier was targeted by a man with a machete.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 18, 2017
Orly Airport’s south terminal was evacuated in the wake of the attack, while its west terminal was put on lockdown. Some travelers were stranded on planes sitting on the tarmac while police searched the airport as a precaution.
Orly Airport is the second busiest airport in France. Air traffic to Orly was temporarily halted as a result of the attack and an ongoing police investigation at the scene. Flights were temporarily diverted to nearby Charles de Gaulle Airport.