Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Flights to Paris cancelled & diverted after shooting

Flights to Paris cancelled & diverted after shooting

More than 230 people have died in France in the past two years at the hands of attackers allied to the IS, whose strongholds in Syria and Iraq are being bombed by an global coalition including France.

French President Francois Hollande says investigators will determine whether the Orly Airport attacker "had a terrorist plot behind him".

Air traffic at the airport's two commercial passenger terminals was suspended, and flights were diverted to Paris' other global airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The episode Saturday came amid a heated presidential election campaign in France, with the first round of voting just five weeks away, on April 23.

The man's father and brother were being questioned by police Saturday.

French-born national Ziyed Ben Belgacem was shot dead after he attempted to snatch a military policewoman's gun inside the French capital's main airport this morning.

"Her two comrades thought it was necessary - and they were right - to open fire to protect her and especially to protect all the people who were around", said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

No-one else was injured in the incident.

In between the moments when he ducked behind his hostage, the two other soldiers fired three bursts, eight rounds in all, that killed the attacker, Molins said.

Before the shooting, authorities say the suspect stole a woman's auto and shot a police officer.

A spokesman for the Interior Minister said that there had been no reports of injuries during the incident at 8.30am.

He is then believed to have stolen another vehicle at gunpoint from a woman at Vitry, south of Paris. The 39-year-old assailant, who has not yet been publicly identified, was apparently a radicalized Muslim on a security watch list who had been previously arrested on drug and theft charges, according to law enforcement sources who spoke with Reuters. Then the man said he heard two gunshots.

Thousands of travelers were evacuated and at least 15 flights were diverted to the city's other airport, Charles de Gaulle.

Later Saturday, the airport's operations were gradually resuming.

It comes as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on the second day of their visit to Paris, where they will today meet survivors of the terror attack at the Bataclan in 2015.

Authorities add that the suspect's home was among several searched in 2015, after the terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Rugby fans in Paris for the Wales v France Six Nations match should "be aware" of the situation at Orly airport, South Wales Police has said.

On Thursday, a letter bomb exploded at the Paris offices of the International Monetary Fund, injuring a secretary who suffered burns to her hands and face.

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