Paris Shooting: What We Know

Firefighters and policeman outside Paris’ Orly airport following the attempted massacre. (Photo: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

A terrorist snatched a rifle from a soldier guarding Orly airport in Paris and attempted to carry out a massacre. Ziyed Ben Belgacem, 39, wrested the rifle from a female soldier, after which her colleagues shot him dead, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Before he was shot Belgacem told the soldiers, “I am here to die for Allah.… In any case, there will be deaths.”

The soldiers were part of Operation Sentinelle, a large-scale deployment of soldiers around the country to guard key sites from terrorist attacks.

Prior to attacking the airport at 8:06 am local time, Belgacem wounded a police officer with a 9 mm lead shot pistol and opened fire in a bar without hitting anyone.

Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said the terrorist also stole a car at gunpoint, according to The Guardian.

Belgacem disrupted the airport for several hours. Police evacuated an estimated 3,000 people from the building, searching for bombs. In total, 178 flights were cancelled, with 34 rerouted to other airports.

Belgacem had nine prior convictions for a variety of offenses including drug dealing, armed robbery, theft and handling stolen goods.

He was flagged by intelligence services as having been “radicalized in prison” from 2011-2012, according to Francois Molins, the Paris prosecutor. Following the attack, police raided his house.

Soldiers found a container of petrol, a copy of the Quran, a lighter and some cigarettes in his bag.