A man was shot to death Saturday after seizing the weapon of a soldier guarding Paris’ Orly Airport, police and witnesses said.
Authorities evacuated visitors while a police operation was underway. Emergency vehicles surrounded the airport as confused passengers gathered in parking lots, and the elite RAID special police force worked to secure the airport.
French national police said that only one man was involved in the attack and denied reports of a possible second attacker.
No information about the slain man or any other injuries was available, she said. The official was not authorized to be publicly named.
A national police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that about 3,000 people were being evacuated from Orly.
Meanwhile a police officer was shot and injured during a road check in the town of Stains northeast of Paris on Saturday, according to Paris police. The national police official said there was no immediate sign of any link between the Orly incident and the Stains shooting.
Passengers at Orly airport told of gunshots and panic.
A witness identified only as Dominque said on BFM television: “The soldiers took aim at the man, who in turn pointed the gun he had seized at the two soldiers.”
Another man said on BFM that three soldiers were targeted, and they tried to calm the man who seized the weapon. Then the man said he heard two gunshots.
The soldier who was attacked is part of the Sentinelle special force installed around France to protect sensitive sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks. The force includes 7,500 soldiers, half deployed in the Paris region and half in the provinces.
Orly is Paris’ second-biggest airport behind Charles de Gaulle, serving domestic and international flights, notably to destinations in Europe and Africa.
The shooting came after a similar incident last month at the Louvre Museum in which an Egyptian man attacked soldiers guarding the site and was shot and wounded.
Saturday’s attack further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.