Martes, 26 Marcha, 2019

Attacker kills French policeman, injures two others, IS claims responsibility

Video Shows Police Response in Paris After Reports of Shots Fired Police Respond to Reports of Shots Fired in Paris
Eleena Tovar | 23 Abril, 2017, 08:52

The gunman who shot dead a policeman in Paris on Thursday has been identified from papers left in his vehicle, but French officials are yet to release his name.

Multiple media outlets named the gunman as Karim Cheurfi, a French national and a father of two.

French presidential candidates canceled or rescheduled last-minute campaign events ahead of Sunday's first round vote in the tense election.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station Thursday night at the centre of the avenue popular with tourists.

The attacker emerged from a auto and used an automatic weapon to shoot at officers outside a Marks & Spencer store at the centre of the Champs-Elysees, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Overnight, a property in the eastern Parisian suburb of Chelles was searched by investigators, who want to know who else - if anyone - may have known about the gunman's plans.

Police had arrested Cheurfi in February on suspicion of planning to kill police but released him because of a lack of evidence.

The incident comes days before the French election, which is to take place on Sunday.

ISIS issued a statement saying the shooter was an Islamic State "fighter", but officials have not yet confirmed his background and motive.

It has since emerged that Cheurfi had been convicted in 2005 on three counts of attempted murder, with police officers as two of the targets, they told AFP. A violent serial offender who held radical Islamist beliefs, he had a history of targeting police officers.

Le Parisien newspaper said he had done jail time for, among other things, shooting a police officer.

The city's anti-terrorist prosecutors have opened a probe into the shooting.

Police sources said he had been flagged as an extremist to authorities.

Cazeneuve said after a meeting of France's security council on Friday: "Barbarity and cowardice struck Paris last night, as they also recently struck elsewhere in Europe in Berlin, Stockholm, in London".

French President François Hollande, however, did state that the attack was "terrorist in nature".

Polls suggest a tight race among the four top contenders, with far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen - who rails at France's Socialist government for being lax on crime - and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist and former economy minister, in the lead.