Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Champs Élysées Closed, Policemen Shot in Paris

Champs Élysées Closed, Policemen Shot in Paris

The president praised police and security service and expressed "immense sadness" over the attack.

The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria.

Paris - One police officer was killed and another wounded on Thursday in a shooting on Paris's Champs Elysees, police said, just days ahead of France's presidential election.

Interior Ministry Spokesman Pierre-Henri Brandit said that the suspect got out of a vehicle and opened fire on a police van, killing one officer.

"We shall be of the utmost vigilance, especially in relation to the election", he said.

A French government spokesman says the Paris assailant used a "war weapon" to fire on officers. They had no other details about him. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet says that police officers killed the attacker.

The shooting has not officially been declared a terrorist act but anti-terrorist forces are leading the investigation, French President Francois Hollande said.

French television networks reported that the chief suspect was a 39-year-old French national known for previous violent crimes. "Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".

Asked whether the attack was evidence that "Paris isn't Paris" anymore, as claimed by Donald Trump, Ftaiti said the U.S. President is "barking up the wrong tree".

BFMTV also reports another police officer was seriously injured and an unidentified man was hit by "cross-fire" in the the Champs-Elysées area. "It just never ends". He says people must be strong and vigilant.

The Champs-Elysées has been closed and authorities are telling people to avoid the area.

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide avenue that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Garden, normally packed with cars and tourists.

The attack was among the latest to take place in Paris, which has been under a state of emergency since more than 100 people were killed in a single night in November 2015.

Police were fired on by a lone gunman with an AK-47 after investigating a suspicious package near the Franklin D Roosevelt Metro station and the Marks and Spencer store on the Champs-Elysées shortly after 8.30pm, Thursday local time.

Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a auto and opened fire on a police vehicle. The gunman tried to run, and wounded two other officers as he fled before he was killed. "He shot straight at the police officer".

Earlier, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his thoughts were with the French police and advised Australians travelling overseas to stay well-informed.

Police had arrested two men on Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack. Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist.

The shooting started during the last TV show with all 11 presidential candidates before the first round of the election on Sunday.

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