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

Paris police say officer and attacker shot, killed

Paris police say officer and attacker shot, killed

A police officer has been killed and two others are seriously injured after a shooting in one of the most popular areas of Paris.

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

A police spokeswoman told Associated Press that the gunman targeted police guarding a metro station.

The incident on the central Parisian boulevard of Champs Elysees, was "probably" a terror attack, they said.

The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria. One of the officers has reportedly died on the scene with the other sustaining serious injuries.

Three police sources said, however, that the shooting could have been an attempt at an armed robbery.

"It looks like another terrorist attack". He said authorities are looking at many possible motives, and that terror investigators are involved in the case.

TV footage showed the Arc de Triomphe monument and top half of the Champs Elysees packed with police vans, lights flashing and heavily armed police shutting the area down after what was described by one journalist as a major exchange of fire near a Marks and Spencers store. 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 indications that we have right now suggest a terrorist link", President Francois Hollande said in a televised statement after meeting his justice and interior ministers. He says people must be strong and vigilant.

He calls the attack a "terrible thing" and says "it never ends".

The attack comes three days before the first round of France's tense presidential election. As events were unfolding in the heart of the capital, all 11 presidential candidates were being interviewed on state television. The show was interrupted by reports of the shooting, AP reported.

Though Le Pen and Macron are the frontrunners, scandal-plagued conservative Francois Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.

France has been plagued by terrorism since the horrific attacks of November 2015 that left 130 people dead and hundreds injured.

Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a auto and opened fire on a police vehicle.

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