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  1. ITV Report

'Radicalised' attacker shot dead at Paris airport after trying to seize soldier's gun

  • Video report by ITV News reporter Sue Saville

A "radicalised" ex-convict has been shot dead at a Paris airport when he snatched a gun from a female soldier and attempted to hold her hostage.

The man, named as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, shouted out "I am here to die for Allah. There will be deaths," as he held the woman by the neck.

Earlier on the same day he opened fire on three police officers at a checkpoint in the north of Paris.

He then hijacked a car at gunpoint and drove to Paris Orly airport.

Officials said he had attempted to use the female soldier as a "human shield" and had seemingly wanted to use her assault rifle to open fire on others in the busy terminal in an "extremely violent attack".

French police have urged people to stay away from Orly airport. Credit: AP

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said a Qu'ran was later found on Belgacem's body.

A spokesman for the French Interior Ministry said no explosives had been found on the body.

The airport was temporarily evacuated and flights diverted for several hours.

Belgacem's attacked officers at a checkpoint before hijacking a car to the airport.

It later emerged that the 39-year-old Frenchman was already on a police watchlist for Muslim extremism.

He had served 15 years in jail for robbery and drug crimes and was released on probation in November.

It is thought the 39-year-old Frenchman was radicalised in prison.

The attacker did not appear in a French government database of people considered potential threats to national security.

But his house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

Who is Ziyed Ben Belgacem?

The Paris prosecutors' office confirmed its anti-terrorism section has taken over the investigation due to the choice of target and signs of the attacker's radicalisation.

Belgacem's cousin, brother and father were taken into custody after the incident.

French police said the father had since been released.

Flights have been suspended at both terminals at the airport. Credit: AP

The foiled attack comes after France stepped up security following a string of deadly Islamic terror acts.

French authorities stressed that security planning - reinforced across the country in the wake of repeated attacks - worked well.

France remains under a state of emergency.

The shooting comes a month after a similar incident at the Louvre Museum.