'Radicalised gunman' shoots police officer before launching Paris airport attack

The gunman was known to police and intelligence agencies

'Radicalised gunman' shoots police officer before launching Paris airport attack

Thibault Camus/AP/Press Association Images

Updated at 16:46

The man who opened fire on three police officers at a road check before attacking a soldier at a Paris airport has been named. 

The attacker's been named as Ziyed Ben Belgacem and he is said to have been known to security services.  

The gunman launched his first attack after being stopped for speeding at a road check north of the city early this morning, shooting a policewoman in the head.

He then held up a woman motorist at gunpoint, stealing her car and driving to Orly airport.

In the airport terminal the attacker assaulted a patrol of three counter-terrorism soldiers, wrestling one of them to the floor and trying to take her gun.

The man was shot dead by patrol officers as they attempted to protect the women and members of the public at the airport, according to France's Interior Ministry.

Pictures of the man, who is said to be in his forties, lying dead with his arms outstretched on the terminal floor have emerged in the wake of the shooting.

One witness, Dominique, who was at the airport heading to Dominican Republic, said: "I heard shouting and I saw the soldiers who were holding a person.

"It was a man who was holding a soldier hostage, he had them by the neck and he threatened the two other soldiers with the woman's rifle."

A police source said the man was "a radicalised Muslim known to intelligence services and the justice system" and had a history of thefts and violent robberies.

The man's father and brother have been taken into police custody.

Bruno Le Roux, French Interior Minister said: "At 8.30am a man tried to attack a Sentinelle patrol in Orly in order to take the weapon of one of the female military. He didn't succeed and he was neutralised."

Operation Sentinelle was launched after the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015 and has seen 7,500 armed soldiers deployed on the French streets - half of them in Paris.

This marks the fourth attack on the Sentinelle forces since it was set up. There was a similar incident at the Louvre Museum last month in which an Egyptian man attacked soldiers guarding the site.

Around 3,000 people were evacuated from the airport and flights were diverted while swat teams and the bomb squad cleared the area.

Flights have been suspended at both terminals and some incoming flights are being diverted to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The airport is expected to remain closed until Saturday evening.

The policewoman was said to have been "lightly injured" by the shotgun attack at 6.55am local time and the soldier was described as "shocked" but uninjured.

Election

France, which is just weeks away from a presidential election, remains under a state of emergency following a series of deadly attacks by Islamic militants over the last two years, including the November 2015 attack in Paris when 130 people were killed the the truck attack in Nice last year.

Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the soldiers at the airport saying they "have demonstrated one more time calm control and professionalism".