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Anti-terror prosecutor investigating Paris Orly Airport attacker

By
Daniel Uria and Amy R. Connolly
Armed police special intervention units move into position at Orly airport near Paris on Saturday. According to news reports a person has been shot by Operation Sentinelle anti-terror patrol soldiers at Orly Airport after trying to snatch a soldier's weapon. Photos by Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA
Armed police special intervention units move into position at Orly airport near Paris on Saturday. According to news reports a person has been shot by Operation Sentinelle anti-terror patrol soldiers at Orly Airport after trying to snatch a soldier's weapon. Photos by Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

March 18 (UPI) -- An anti-terror prosecutor in France opened an investigation of the man who was shot dead after snatching a soldier's gun at Paris Orly Airport on Saturday.

Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office, said the attacker had been known to police for nine instances of armed robbery and drug trafficking, and officers were questioning his father and brother.

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The Interior Ministry said judicial authorities would ultimately determine whether the airport attack was terror related.

"The individual was known to the police and judicial services. There is therefore 'possibly' a terrorist motivation for this act," the ministry said.

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The man approached a group of soldiers patrolling the airport and grabbed one of their weapons. He hid in a store before being killed by other soldiers, the French National Police said. An elite operations unit and bomb squad was called to the airport. No one else was injured. The public was warned to stay away from the airport.

President Francois Hollande praised "the courage and efficiency" of police and military and said France was determined to "act tirelessly to fight terrorism, defend the security of our countrymen and ensure the protection of our territory."

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Some 3,000 people evacuated the airport during the incident and passengers aboard planes that had landed were kept onboard aircrafts.

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A police spokesman said soldiers at the airport were part of increased security and the effort is working.

"The fact that the would-be attacker at Orly was neutralised so quickly, with no casualties, shows that security is effective," he said.

Earlier in the day, a man believed to be the same suspect opened fire on officers during a checkpoint. One officer was injured.

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