Terrorist shot dead by soldiers at Paris airport

Heavily armed officers are at the scene

A man shot dead at a Paris airport on Saturday morning after attacking a soldier in the name of Allah had cocaine and cannabis in his bloodstream, according to authorities.

Career criminal Ziyed Ben Belgacem triggered a major scare at Orly worldwide airport south of Paris on Saturday morning when wrestled a gun from a female soldier on patrol - before grabbing her and putting the rifle to her head.

He said he wanted to "die for Allah", and a scuffle between him and two other soldiers ensued, which resulted in him being fatally shot.

Around 3,000 passengers were evacuated from Orly, France's second-busiest airport, after the incident as security services sealed off the terminal and swept it for bombs, but no explosives were found. Crowds of passengers waited outside.

Toxicology reports revealed that Belgacem had alcohol, cocaine, and cannabis in his system when the incident took place.

Belgacem's father, brother and a cousin were taken in for questioning, Molins said.

Ben Belgacem's father had insisted earlier Sunday that his son was "not a terrorist" and that his actions were caused by drink and drugs.

But he ruled out any link between the attack and the two-round French presidential election in April and May, noting that France has been battling extremist threats for years. He has never prayed: he drinks.

He said he had received a phone call from Belgacem after his initial attack in which he said: "Dad, please forgive me".

The 39-year-old Frenchman with a long criminal record of drugs and robbery offences stopped at a bar in the wee hours Saturday morning, around four hours before he first fired bird shot at traffic police.

"My son was not a terrorist".

When she managed to release herself momentarily from the attacker's hold, her two colleagues, one of them a reservist, opened fire and killed the man, the statement said.

Emmanuel Macron, the centrist front-runner, told France 2 television on Sunday it was "essential" to maintain the current state of emergency, in force since November 2015.

Paris Airports, the group that manages the city's airports, said both Orly terminals were reopening Saturday afternoon after a suspension of several hours.

Belgacem's death was the violent climax of what authorities described as a 90-minute spree that began with a traffic stop in Paris' northern suburbs.

The suspect then commandeered a gray Citroen and headed to Orly airport.

The French National Police tweeted that there was a "police operation" underway at the airport.

The unit attacked at the airport was part of Operation Sentinel, which involves about 7,000 soldiers who patrol public areas in France, including high-profile locations like airports, areas near large tourist attractions and train stations.

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