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

Policeman and suspected gunman shot dead in Paris gun battle

Policeman and suspected gunman shot dead in Paris gun battle

The gunman opened fire as the officers were guarding an area near the Franklin Roosevelt metro station on Thursday night.

Security has been tight in the country, coming just days before the first round of France's presidential election on Sunday.

After that attack and others in the last two years - many perpetrated by Islamic State militants or those claiming to be inspired by the extremist group - terrorism and national security remain crucial issues in the most contentious election France has seen in decades.

The UK Foreign Office said: "The British Embassy is in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of a shooting incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris".

Because of its worldwide renown and its large number of visitors, the Champs Elysees has always been seen as a potential target, the BBC's Hugh Schofield reports from the French capital.

French police came under fire Thursday on a famed Paris boulevard, and French news media reported that at least two were shot.

President Hollande who called emergency security meeting said that he was convinced the attack was "terrorist-related".

A vehicle pulled up alongside a police bus just before 21:00 (19:00 GMT) and a man got out, opening fire with an automatic weapon at the bus, Mr Brandet said. "We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant, and I have been saying it for a long time".

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A second officer was reportedly injured in what police said was an attack that deliberately targeted police. People panicked and ran away from the scene and he joined them.

Late on Thursday night, the Amaq news agency, which is associated with Islamic State, reported that the jihadist group had claimed responsibility for the attack. "It never ends", the President said.

At one end is the Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by a several-lane-wide roundabout, and the other end stops at the Place de la Concorde, known for its obelisk monument.

If no candidate claims a majority in the first round - which is likely - there will be a run-off election between the top two candidates on May 7.

Police are searching the home of the shooter in east Paris and the attacker had previously mentioned on social media that he "wanted to kill police", according to BFM TV. BFMTV has not specified if the unidentified man was the attacker or a bystander.

An attacker took a truck and drove down a crowded street in Nice during a Bastille Day celebration, killing 84.

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