Even as an investigation has begun into the Paris Orly airport incident in which a gunman was shot dead after an altercation with security forces, it has emerged that he shouted that he was there to "die for Allah", according to a Reuters report.

The 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem was killed after he tried to seize an assault rifle from a soldier, who was a part of the military patrol at the airport.

He threw down a bag which contained a can of petrol and got hold of a female air force member, prosecutor Francois Molins said.

He put his air pistol to her head and shouted at other soldiers: "Put down your guns. Put your hands on your head. I am here to die for Allah. In any case, there will be deaths."

Molins told a press conference that the man was keen on carrying out a deadly attack.

"Given the violence that is shown in the (CCTV) pictures ... you sense that he was determined to go through with it. Everything leads one to believe he wanted to seize the Famas [assault rifle] so that there were deaths and then to fire at people."

The incident led to the evacuation of the airport, which is the second busiest in France, and brought the subject of security back into the spotlight even as the French presidential election campaign is underway.

The police found €750 (£650) in cash and a Quran on his body. They also found a machete, many grams of cocaine and foreign currency at his home, Molins added.

He was reportedly involved in a shooting and carjacking earlier on Saturday (18 March). He is said to have been radicalised in prison and was on a police watch-list.

Numerous terrorism-related offences, including attempted murder, are being investigated by the prosecutors.

In the last two years, more than 230 people have been killed by extremists who are allied with the Islamic State (Isis) jihadists. The incident also comes just a month before the presidential elections are set to take place in two rounds in April and May.

Orly Airport
Passengers at Orly Airport were evacuated following the attack. Reuters