Po­lice of­fi­cer shot dead by ‘mul­ti­ple gun­men’ in at­tack at pop­u­lar Paris tourist site... just days be­fore French pres­i­den­tial elec­tions

Irish Daily Mail - - Front Page - From Peter Allen in Paris, Ian Drury and Ross Parker

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’ news@dailymail.ie

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

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