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

French police officer killed, Champs-Elysées in Paris closed, CNN affiliate says

French police officer killed, Champs-Elysées in Paris closed, CNN affiliate says

The attacker had been flagged as an extremist, according to two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the investigation. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer's gun and shot him three times, the source said. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.

Candidates in the election said they had been warned about the Marseille attackers.

ISIS issued a statement saying an Islamic State "fighter" carried out the attack.

CNN could not independently confirm that claim.

The Paris prosecutor's office said counterterrorism investigators are involved in the probe.

A prosecutor said his identity had been been verified and police said at least one location in the eastern Paris suburbs was being searched.

This image made from AP video shows police attending an incident on the Champs Elysees in Paris in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker in a shooting, Thursday April 20, 2017. Spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a auto and opened fire on a police vehicle. The man "then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen. He shot straight at the police officer".

"They were running, running", said 55-year-old Badi Ftati, who lives in the area.

France's president Francois Hollande said he was convinced the circumstances surrounding the attack on the police officers pointed to a terrorist act and has convened a National Defence and Security Council to meet on Friday morning.

It happened near The Champs Elysees and the area has been cordoned off by police. The avenue was clear of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers Thursday night.

The attack comes three days before the first round of presidential elections in France. Candidates went ahead with a debate Thursday night.

France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead.

Security has been tight because of the vote. And that's not all - an unidentified man was also hit by "cross-fire".

Helicopters were seen flying low over central Paris, and the Champs Elysees, one of the world's most prestigious boulevards, had been closed off. What can you say?

After killing the officer and injuring his colleagues, the gunman was shot dead in return fire while trying to flee on foot, police sources told AFP.

As the first details filtered through about the attack, US President Donald Trump sent his condolences and said that "it looks like another terrorist attack. It just never ends".

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