PARIS The man killed at Orly airport on Saturday tried to snatch a gun from a female soldier "in an extremely violent attack" on her before he was shot dead, a French army spokesman said.
Benoit Brulon, a spokesman for France's anti-terror patrol force, said of the female soldier: "She's doing fine".
Brulon, speaking on BFMTV, said the female soldier, who was part of an air force detachment, fell to the ground as she struggled with her attacker.
"It was then that her comrades opened fire to protect her and people around," he said.
Separately, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandet said it was "possible" but had yet to be established that the incident could be called a terrorist attack.
"There's possibly a terrorist motive but that's something the justice system will have to ascertain and it will do so in due time," Brandet told reporters.
(Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Richard Balmforth)