Paris attack: Isis claims responsibility for shooting that left one police officer dead
Extremist group releases statement saying attack was carried out by Belgian Isis fighter
Jon Sharman, Lucy Pasha-Robinson, Katie Forster
an hour ago
A police officer has died and two are seriously wounded after a shooting near the Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris.
Isis have claimed responsibility for the attack, in which the officer was said to have been killed while in a car stopped at a red light.
A report citing a police source said the person who fired on officers had been killed in turn. Officials said the suspect had previously been flagged as an extremist.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said it had identified the attacker and was looking into whether he acted alone. Raids are ongoing in the city, it was reported.
A police source said the shooting was very probably a “terrorist act”, according to Reuters, while other reports suggested robbery may have been the motive.
The French interior ministry said it was too early to judge the reason behind the attack, but a counter-terrorism inquiry has been opened.
’It looks like another terrorist attack,’ says Trump of Paris shooting
It came just days before French voters were set to go to the polls in the first round of the presidential election.
A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting and saw a man’s body on the ground, and that the area was quickly evacuated by police.
Another reportedly said they saw a man get out of a car and begin firing a Kalashnikov rifle.
A third witness told local media: “Suddenly everyone got up and started running, we didn’t even have the time to understand what was happening.
“We heard one or two gunshots, it wasn’t a Kalashnikov, it was shot by shot. We ran. I really didn’t understand what was happening, we moved down the street, police told us to move down further.
“I didn’t see if they were two, three or just one assailant. We just ran.
“We heard two gunshots. All the people sat on the terrace got up and ran, chairs were falling over.”
A French police union had announced a second officer had died, but the interior ministry later said this was not the case.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station, at the centre of the avenue popular with tourists.
France has lived under a state of emergency since 2015 and has suffered a spate of Islamist militant attacks that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve tweeted that his thoughts were with the officers and their colleagues and families.
Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said he stood in solidarity with law enforcement workers, while Francois Fillon also tweeted a tribute to officers.
Marine le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon made similar statements.
US President Donald Trump said: “It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say – it never ends. We have to be strong and be vigilant.”
French candidates weigh in on ’terror attack’ in Paris
© France 24 | View of the Champs Elysee in Paris following the attack
Text by NEWS WIRES
Latest update : 2017-04-21
France’s presidential candidates have expressed their solidarity with police forces following the shootings of three officers in Paris.
The 11 candidates were appearing on a television program ahead of the first round of voting in the two-part election when the attack that left one officer dead happened Thursday night.
Conservative contender Francois Fillon said on France 2 television he was cancelling his planned campaign stops on Friday.
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen took to Twitter to offer her sympathy for law enforcement officers "once again targeted."
Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron offered his thoughts to the family of the dead officer.
Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his "full support" to police against terrorism.
The first round of the presidential race is scheduled on Sunday. The two top contenders will advance to a runoff on May 7.
French President Francois Hollande says he is convinced the circumstances surrounding the attack on Paris police officers points to a terrorist act.
Hollande said after one officer was killed and two others seriously wounded on the grand Champs-Elysees boulevard Thursday night he is "convinced" the investigation indicates terrorism.
He did not elaborate.
Hollande says has convened a National Defense and Security Council to meet on Friday morning.
The council consists of top security, police and military officials and several members of government.