Paris airport attacker shouted: 'I'm here to die for Allah - there will be deaths'

Zoe Catchpole and Damien Pearse, News Reporters

A radicalised Muslim on a crime watchlist shot a policewoman in the head at a road check before attacking a soldier at a Paris airport.

The gunman shouted: "I am here to die for Allah - there will be deaths", before attempting to gun people down at Orly airport.

The man - known as Ziyed B - at one point threw down a bag containing a can of petrol, a Parisian prosecutor said.

He was initially stopped for speeding at a road check north of the city early on Saturday moirning, shooting a policewoman in the head.

He then held up a woman motorist at gunpoint, stealing her car and driving to Orly airport.

In the airport terminal the attacker assaulted a patrol of three counter-terrorism soldiers, making the statement about Allah.

He wrestled one of the soldiers to the floor, trying to take her gun.

:: Paris attacks timeline

The man was shot dead by patrol officers as they attempted to protect the women and members of the public at the airport.

Pictures of the man, who is 39, lying dead with his arms outstretched on the terminal floor have emerged in the wake of the shooting.

In total soldiers fired eight rounds at the attacker, who was intent on shooting people at the airport, French officials said.

One witness, Dominique, said: "I heard shouting and I saw the soldiers who were holding a person.

"It was a man who was holding a soldier hostage, he had them by the neck and he threatened the two other soldiers with the woman's rifle."

A police source said the man was "a radicalised Muslim known to intelligence services and the justice system".

He had a history of thefts and violent robberies. The man's father, brother and a cousin have been taken into police custody.

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Bruno Le Roux, French Interior Minister, said: "At 8.30am a man tried to attack a Sentinelle patrol in Orly in order to take the weapon of one of the female military.

"He didn't succeed and he was neutralised."

Operation Sentinelle was launched after the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015.

It has seen 7,500 armed soldiers deployed on the French streets - half of them in Paris.

This marks the fourth attack on the Sentinelle forces since it was set up.

There was a similar incident at the Louvre Museum last month in which an Egyptian man attacked soldiers guarding the site.

Around 3,000 people were evacuated from the airport and flights were diverted while swat teams and the bomb squad cleared the area.

The policewoman was said to have been "lightly injured" by the shotgun attack at 6.55am on Saturday.

The soldier who was wrestled to the ground was described as "shocked" but uninjured.

Franck Lecam was at the airport when the attacker struck 90 minutes after the first incident.

He said: "We had queued up to check in for the Tel Aviv flight when we heard three or four shots nearby."

He added: "There are policemen, emergency workers and soldiers running all over the place."

It comes as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on the second day of their visit to Paris, meeting survivors of the Nice and Paris terror attacks.

:: William and Kate hail courage of victims from Bataclan and Nice attacks

They also watched this afternoon's Six Nations rugby match at the Stade de France.

French authorities have said the incidents would have no impact on the Royal visit.

Paris Aeroport tweeted: "Ongoing special operations by the Police. Please follow their instructions (safety area)."

France, which is just weeks away from a presidential election, remains under a state of emergency following a series of deadly attacks.

These include the November 2015 attack in Paris when 130 people were killed and the truck attack in Nice last year.

Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the soldiers at the airport.

He said they "have demonstrated one more time calm control and professionalism".