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

One police officer dead in Paris shooting

One police officer and an attacker have been killed in a shooting in Paris on Thursday, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV and the French Interior Ministry. A French police union previously reported that two officers had been killed in the incident.

Police said the attacker was shot dead by an officer or officers. Two police officers told AP the attacker had been flagged as an extremist, but they offered no further details. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.

He said police were securing the area but there is "no other police operation under way" there. "The candidate from National Front, like every drama, seeks to profit and use the situation to divide and benefit for exclusively political ends", he said in a televised address. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The Paris prosecutor said the gunman has been identified, but said his name won't be revealed until investigators determine whether he had accomplices.

Molins said he would reveal the shooter's identity in a press conference Friday, adding that officers were searching the man's residence in Chelles in the Paris suburb of Seine-et-Marne. President Hollande says he is convinced the circumstances of the shooting points to a terrorist act.

"We don't have a precise idea of the origin of the shots fired", he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM television that a man stepped from a auto and opened fire on a police vehicle.

It is understood the assailant stepped out of a auto at a red light and opened fire with a Kalashnikov machine gun, also known as an AK-47. The attacker, a 29-year-old Egyptian, was seriously injured. "He shot straight at the police officer".

Fillon also said the fight against "Islamist totalitarianism" should be the priority of the next president.

Shop owners and restaurant managers on the bustling Champs Elysees, in the heart of Paris, described the chaotic scenes that followed the attack.

The incident came as French voters prepared go to the polls on Sunday in the most tightly-contested presidential election in decades.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people. Parliament voted in December to extend the extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.

"He opened fire on a police vehicle with an automatic weapon, killing one of the police officers and trying to attack others while running", a police source told AFP, asking not be named.

The world-famous avenue has been sealed off and nearby stations on the Paris Metro have been closed. He looked around, but couldn't identify where the shots were coming from.

"Barbarity and cowardice struck Paris last night", he said as he appealed for national unity and for people "not to succumb to fear".

A Reuters reporter saw a helicopter flying low over central Paris, apparently part of a follow-up police operation. At least 20 police vehicles were seen on the street.

USA president Donald Trump said the shooting "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent condolences to France. What can you say?

Two French officials said the gunman was detained towards the end of February after speaking threateningly about the police, but he was then released due to a lack of evidence.

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