IS group claims attack in Paris
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.”