GUNMAN KILLS OFFICER IN PARIS
Two others were wounded in the attack on police on the Champs-Elysees. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting.
PARIS — A gunman opened fire on French police Thursday on Paris’ bestkilling one officer and wounding two others before being fatally shot himself in an incident that raised the specter of renewed terrorism just three days before voters go to the polls to elect a new president.
The Islamic State, through its affiliated Amaq news agency, quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which sent panicked pedestrians fleeing into side streets and prompted police to seal off the renowned Champs-Elysees, close metro stations and order tourists back into their hotels. The terrorist organization said the attack was carried out by a Belgian national it identified only as Abu Yusuf alBaljiki, a pseudonym.
Therewas no immediate confirmation that the Islamic State was behind the shooting. French officials declined to attach a motive to the attack, although they said police were deliberately targeted and that they were opening terrorism investigation.
A European security official told The Washington Post that the dead attacker was knownto French intelligence, having previously come to authorities’ attention for radical Islamist links. Two officials said the gunman used an AK-47 assault rifle in the attack.
The French Interior Ministry said one police officer was killed on the spot and two others were “seriously wounded” when the gunman opened fire on a police car. The ministry said security forces gunned down the attacker as he tried to flee on foot.
A spokeswoman for the Paris police, Johanna Primevert, said the gunman attacked police guarding an area near the Franklin Roosevelt metro station Thursday night at the center of the heavily traveled Champs-Elysees.
She said the attacker appeared to act alone, but other officials said it was too soon to tell whether he might have had an accomplice.
The Reuters news agency reported that police issued an arrestwarrant for a second suspect who they said had arrived in France by train fromBelgium.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told France’s BFM television that the gunman got out of a car that pulled up beside a police vehicle and opened fire on the police officers.
“It’s too early to say what’s behind this, but clearly police were the target,” he said. “We don’t know yet what his motivations were.” There were conflicting reports about whether another person was in the gunman’s car.
In Washington, President Donald Trump said during a news conference with the Italian prime minister that the Paris shooting “looks like another terrorist attack,” and he offered condolences to France.
“Again it’s happening, it seems,” Trump said. “I just sawit as Iwaswalking in. ... That’s a very, very terrible thing that’s going on in the world today. But it looks like another terrorist attack.”
The incident occurred three days before France holds the first round of a hotly contested presidential election, with candidates from across the political spectrum vying to succeed Francois Hollande.
French soldiers stand guard at the Arc de Triomphe near the Champs Elysees in Paris after a shooting.
Police secure the Champs-Elysees on Thursday after a gunman shot and killed one police officer and wounded two others. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.