France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation after a man who tried to grab an assault weapon from a soldier at Paris Orly Airport in Paris was shot dead, an official at the prosecutor’s office told ABC News.
Investigators are now searching for “clues, stories, and images” pertaining to the suspect and incident, France’s interior minister said.
The brother and father of the suspect are being questioned, but have not been detained.
According to The Associated Press report, a French official connected to the investigation confirms media reports identifying the Paris Orly Airport attacker as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a 39-year-old born in France.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the suspected attacker’s identity.
France Info radio, on its website, identified him as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, which the official confirmed to the AP. Le Parisien newspaper named him only as Ziyed B. and said he was born in Paris.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has Paris’ Orly Airport was partially evacuated Saturday morning after a man was fatally shot by French security forces when tried to seize a rifle from a soldier guarding the airport, France’s Ministry of the Interior has confirmed.
“This morning at 8:30 at Orly Airport, an individual tried to attack French soldiers in order to take the weapon of one of the soldiers – he was not able to do it and was shot and killed by soldiers,” Minister of the Interior Bruno Le Roux said early Saturday.
France’s Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said, the suspect attacked three soldiers patrolling the airport. He tried to take the weapon of one of the soliders, a woman.
“She was able to hold to her weapon. Two other soldiers shot at the individual to protect her. I congratulate them,” Le Drian said.
The Paris prosecutors’ office says the 39-year-old suspected attacker who was shot and killed at Orly Airport had already crossed authorities’ radar for suspected Islamic extremism.
Prosecutors say Saturday that the suspect’s house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings.
French President Francois Hollande says investigators will determine whether the Orly Airport attacker “had a terrorist plot behind him.”
Hollande ruled out any link between Saturday’s attack and the upcoming French presidential election in April and May, noting that France has been battling the threat of extremism for several years.