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20 Mar 2017

BY Jennifer Morris

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'Tens of thousands' of passengers grounded after attack at Paris's Orly airport

"Tens of thousands" of passengers were grounded at Paris’s Orly airport on Saturday after a man was shot dead when he attacked a soldier.

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'Tens of thousands' of passengers grounded after attack at Paris's Orly airport

Police are still trying to establish the motive behind the assault on Saturday by 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, which led to the temporary closure of the French capital’s second-busiest airport.

 

Tens of thousands of airline passengers were grounded after the airport closed for hours, with flights resuming shortly before 3pm local time.

 

Orly airport, on the south side of Paris, went into lockdown immediately after the incident at about 8.30am local time.

 

Passengers on aircraft that had just arrived were told to remain on board while a security sweep took place, the Independent reports.

 

Travellers who had not yet reached the airport were warned: “Ongoing special operation by the police at Paris-Orly. Please do not come to the airport.”

 

With no further arrivals permitted at Orly, dozens of flights were diverted to Charles de Gaulle airport. Air France told passengers booked to travel to or from Orly: “We recommend you to change your reservation.

 

"You can postpone your trip at no extra cost until 28 March 2017. You may also choose to cancel your journey.

In this case, you will be entitled to a non-refundable voucher valid 1 year.”

 

Blood tests have revealed that the gunman had consumed cocaine, cannabis and alcohol.

 

Belgacem was killed after he put a gun to a soldier’s head saying he wanted to "die for Allah", BBC News reports.

 

He is said to have been radicalised in prison, and was on a police watch-list.

 

He was involved in a shooting and then a carjacking on Saturday before he attacked a military patrol at the airport.

 

Early on Saturday morning, Belgacem had been stopped at a checkpoint north of Paris.

 

He fired at police with a pellet gun before escaping in a car that was later found abandoned.

 

Police say he then stole a car at gunpoint which was later found at Orly airport.

 

Belgacem arrived at the airport and attacked a military patrol in the south terminal.

 

He tried to seize a servicewoman’s automatic weapon and put his gun to her head before being shot dead by two other soldiers.

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