TERROR ON THE CHAMPS-ELYSEES
Police officer shot dead by ‘multiple gunmen’ in attack at popular Paris tourist site... just days before French presidential elections
A POLICE officer was killed last night in a suspected terror attack on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Just three days before the French presidential election, a gunman opened fire on a police bus which had stopped at a red light on the boulevard.
Two other police officers were also hit and were last night said to be critical. One of the casualties was reported to be a female officer.
The Kalashnikov-wielding attacker was later shot dead. Sources said he was known to the French security services, who confirmed last night that he was an extremist suspect.
Police later said that shots had been fired at a second location nearby, raising concerns of a marauding firearms attack by extremists with at least another
gunman on the loose. The French interior ministry last night said it could not rule out that there may have been another linked attacker.
Police said the circumstances of the shooting had ‘not been determined’ but anti-terror prosecutors said they had opened an investigation into the attack.
US President Donald Trump said: ‘It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It never ends.’
President Francois Hollande was due to address to the French people after holding a crisis meeting with Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and interior minister Matthias Fekl.
Last night Mr Cazeneuve tweeted: ‘Tribute to the policeman killed on the Champs-Élysées tonight, thoughts to his family. Solidarity with their injured
‘He came out and started shooting’ firstname.lastname@example.org
colleagues and relatives.’ Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told France’s BFMTV news channel: ‘On the face of it, the officers were deliberately targeted.’ Mr Brandet said a car pulled up alongside a police bus and a man got out, opening fire with an automatic weapon at the bus.
After killing an officer, he attempted to run away while shooting at other officers, two of whom he injured, the spokesman added. He was then shot dead by security forces.
Last night it emerged that the killer was known to the security services and had talked of wanting to kill police officers on the Telegram internet messaging service, which has been favoured by extremists because of its encryption.
The bustling avenue in the heart of the city, which is usually teeming with tourists and Parisians, was blocked by armed officers, and the Metro stations in the area were closed.
An eyewitness, who gave his first name as Chelloug, said: ‘It was one of the policeman who fell. And one policeman who was injured, I think. I was two metres away from the van. If it hadn’t have been for the van, he’d have killed me, I think. It was a terrorist.
‘He came out with a Kalashnikov and started shooting, but he could’ve shot us on the pavement Red alert: Traffic lights are used to bring traffic to a standstill and killed more people with a pavement and there was a police spray of shots – but he targeted van and the guy came out in an the policemen and fortunately Audi 80, an old grey Audi. there were the policemen who ‘He parked just behind the van killed him. I was walking on the and he got out with Kalashnikov. I heard six gunshots. I think he hit a policeman. As soon as the policeman opened the door of the van, he fell, I think.
‘As soon as we saw that, we all ran back inside the shop. We hid and went up to the first floor. We saw them, the police, shoot at the perpetrator.’
The shooting comes just two days after the arrest of two men found with a cache of weapons and explosives in Marseilles.
They were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first round of the presidential election this Sunday.
It came a month after a terror attack on London, when crazed jihadist Khalid Masood ran down and killed three victims on Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed police officer Keith Palmer at the British parliament.
There have also been a string of recent terror strikes across Europe, including the bombings in Brussels in March last year which claimed the lives of 32 people, and last December’s attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, when a Tunisian national hijacked a truck and rammed it into a crowd, killing 12 people.
Jihadism is set to be a major issue in the French vote – with the country in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed more than 230 people.
It was reported last night that police searches were taking place at the home of the dead ChampsÉlysées gunman in the east of the city. A spokesman for the police said the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the centre of the popular shopping district.
Street of fear: Police seal off the Champs-Élysées – the most famous tourist boulevard in the French capital – after the attack