An Israeli police officer shot himself dead today at an airport departure ceremony for French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The shots sparked fear of an assassination attempt and prompting bodyguards to whisk away Mr Sarkozy and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, officials said.
Dark-suited men quickly ushered Mr Sarkozy and his wife up the stairs of their plane as Mr Olmert and Israeli president Shimon Peres were escorted to their cars.
In a panic, Mr Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, rushed up the stairs ahead of her husband.
The incident was over within minutes, and Mr Olmert boarded the plane to tell Mr Sarkozy what had happened.
A police spokesman confirmed that a policeman guarding the airport committed suicide just as Mr Sarkozy was about to board his plane.
Officials said he shot himself in the head.
Mr Sarkozy’s three-day trip to Israel was meant to improve relations between the two countries.