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

Islamic State group claims Paris shooting

Islamic State group claims Paris shooting

One officer was killed and two police officers were seriously wounded when the attacker emerged from a vehicle and used an automatic weapon to shoot at officers outside a Marks & Spencer's department store at the center of the Champs-Elysees, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said.

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

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting in Paris of a police officer, in a statement by the jihadists' propaganda agency Amaq.

The shooting comes just a few days before France's presidential election.

France remains under a state of emergency, after a series of deadly terrorist attacks over the past several years.

Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his "full support" to police against terrorism.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron appealed to French voters to keep a cool head.

Hollande held an emergency meeting with the prime minister Thursday night and planned to convene the defense council Friday morning.

But the 55-year-old says visitors to the French "were running, running.Some were crying".

The BBC reported that security services had known of the gunman, who had talked about his desire to kill police officers on the Telegram messaging service.

One witness said he heard six shots fired, and saw the police officer hit the ground.

The wide avenue that leads away from the Arc de Triomphe had been crowded with Parisians and tourists enjoying a spring evening, but police quickly cleared the area, which remained empty well into the night of all but heavily armed security forces and police vehicles. He said officers were "deliberately" targeted.

Mr Hollande said that a passer-by had also been wounded in the shooting, but he did not specify how badly.

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.

French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said police officers were targeted in the shooting, but it was too early to say what the motive was.

Paris police and soldiers have sealed off the area around the Champs-Elysees after an attack on police, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

The two top finishers in Sunday's election will advance to a runoff on May 7. Subway stations were closed off. Belgian authorities said they had no information about the suspect.

Paris police are warning people to avoid the area around the French capital's grand Champs-Elysees.

A police source told Reuters there had been two assailants, while a witness saw one man get out of a auto at the scene and begin shooting with a machine gun. At the time of the shooting, all 11 presidential candidates were appearing on television.

None of the candidates immediately commented.

French presidential election candidates Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon cancelled campaign events scheduled for Friday, on what will be the last day of campaigning for candidates before the first round of voting in the presidential election.

Like this: