IS group claims at­tack in Paris

The Daily Courier - - WORLD -

PARIS — An at­tacker with an au­to­matic weapon opened fire on po­lice on Paris’ iconic Champs-El­y­sees on Thurs­day night, killing one of­fi­cer and se­ri­ously wound­ing two oth­ers be­fore po­lice shot and killed him. The Is­lamic State group quickly claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack.

A Paris po­lice spokes­woman said the at­tacker tar­geted of­fi­cers guard­ing the area near the Franklin Roo­sevelt sub­way sta­tion at the cen­tre of the sparkling shop­ping boule­vard pop­u­lar with tourists. Po­lice said he ap­peared to be act­ing alone.

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

The at­tack came three days be­fore the first round of bal­lot­ing in France’s tense pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Se­cu­rity has been very high since Tues­day, when po­lice said they thwarted a ter­ror at­tack by ar­rest­ing two men.

Two anony­mous po­lice of­fi­cials said the at­tacker had been flagged as an ex­trem­ist. They had no other de­tails about him.

The claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity sev­eral hours af­ter the at­tack came un­usu­ally swiftly for the IS group, which has been los­ing ter­ri­tory in Iraq and Syria. In a state­ment from its Amaq news agency, the group gave a pseu­do­nym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, in­di­cat­ing he was Bel­gian. Soon af­ter the Ara­bic lan­guage state­ment, the group sent one out in French, de­scrib­ing it as an at­tack “in the heart of Paris.”

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