Fatal terror attack: Champs-Elysees in Paris


A gunman shot and killed a policeman and wounded two others on the world-famous Champs Elysees avenue in Paris on Thursday night, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. A lone gunman opened fire before being killed as he fled the scene, police say.

And the pseudonym, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicated that the attacker already had ties of some sort to Islamic State extremists.

Investigators believe at this stage that the gunman, 39-year-old Frenchman Karim Cheurfi, was alone in killing a police officer and injuring two others and a German tourist in Paris on Thursday night, less than 72 hours before the polls open.

"We are suffering the consequences of a laxity that has continued for years", she said, alluding to security and the terror threat.

Police and soldiers sealed off the area after the attack, ordering tourists back into hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

US Vice-President Mike Pence said the Paris shooting is the "latest reminder that terrorism can strike anywhere, anytime".

The police officials were not authorized to be publicly named discussing the ongoing investigation. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer's gun and shot him three times, the source added.

The shooting comes just two days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday. French President Francois Hollande said he is convinced the circumstances of the Paris shooting points to a terrorist act.

Mr Brandet said the police officers were "deliberately" targeted. A man emerged from the auto and opened fire on the police van with an "automatic weapon", he said.

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"A national tribute will be paid to this police officer who was murdered in such a cowardly manner", Hollande said.

Quoting President Donald Trump, Pence said "we have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant".

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The UK strongly condemns the appalling terrorist attack in Paris". "Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man's body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

In February, a man armed with a machete in each hand attacked soldiers on patrol at Paris's Louvre Museum.

The shooting shut down the normally busy Champs-Elysees, one of the top tourist attractions in Paris, and video showed the avenue empty of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers at 9:30 p.m.

France has lived under a state of emergency since 2015 and has suffered a spate of Islamist militant attacks mostly perpetrated by young men who grew up in France and Belgium and that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has been campaigning on a hard-line anti-immigration platform, said on Friday that France should immediately reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services.