An­other deadly at­tack in Paris

Is­lamic State claims it car­ried out gun as­sault against po­lice of­fi­cers

The Dallas Morning News - - FRONT PAGE - James McAu­ley,

Peo­ple ap­proached po­lice care­fully on Paris’ Champs-Élysées on Thurs­day night af­ter a gun­man with an as­sault ri­fle killed one of­fi­cer and se­ri­ously wounded two others be­fore be­ing shot dead. The Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack.

PARIS — A gun­man opened fire on French po­lice Thurs­day on Paris’ best­known boule­vard, killing one of­fi­cer and wound­ing two others be­fore be­ing fa­tally shot him­self in an in­ci­dent that raised the specter of re­newed ter­ror­ism just be­fore a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, which sent pan­icked pedes­tri­ans flee­ing into side streets and prompted po­lice to seal off the renowned Champ­sEl­y­sees. The ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion said the at­tack was car­ried out by a Bel­gian cit­i­zen it iden­ti­fied by the pseu­do­nym Abu Yusuf al-Baljiki.

There was no im­me­di­ate con­fir­ma­tion that the Is­lamic State was be­hind the shoot­ing. French of­fi­cials de­clined to at­tach a mo­tive to the at­tack, al­though they said that po­lice were de­lib­er­ately tar­geted and that they were open­ing a ter­ror­ism investigation.

Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande sched­uled an emer­gency meet­ing late Thurs­day to dis­cuss the at­tack.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred just three days be­fore France holds the first round of a hotly con­tested pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, with can­di­dates from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum vy­ing to suc­ceed Hol­lande as pres­i­dent.

Fra­nois Fil­lon, one of the can­di­dates, said in a state­ment that the elec­tion cam­paign should be sus­pended. “We must show our sol­i­dar­ity with the po­lice and the French pop­u­la­tion, which is in­creas­ingly wor­ried,” he said. “The fight against Is­lamist to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism must be the top pri­or­ity.”

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Na­tional Front party, wasted no time in us­ing the at­tack as the lat­est ev­i­dence in her call for France to in­ten­sify its fight against “Is­lamist ter­ror­ism.”

By con­trast, Em­manuel Macron, a pop­u­lar in­de­pen­dent can­di­date, ar­gued against any fear-mon­ger­ing.

“We must not yield to fear today,” he said. “This is what our as­sailants are wait­ing for, and it’s their trap.”

Ahead of the first round of the vote on Sun­day, Macron is lead­ing Le Pen in the lat­est polls, but by only a small mar­gin. Both Fil­lon and Le Pen an­nounced that they would can­cel planned events on Fri­day, the last of­fi­cial day of cam­paign­ing.

A Euro­pean se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said that the dead at­tacker was known to French in­tel­li­gence, hav­ing pre­vi­ously come to au­thor­i­ties’ at­ten­tion be­cause of rad­i­cal Is­lamic links. Two of­fi­cials said the gun­man used an AK-47 as­sault ri­fle.

One French of­fi­cial said in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­cov­ered an ID card on the shooter and were await­ing the re­sults of fin­ger­prints.

Fran­cois Molins, the Paris prose­cu­tor, con­firmed late Thurs­day that “the iden­tity of the at­tacker is known” and said that “in­ves­ti­ga­tions are un­der­way with searches to find out whether he ben­e­fited from col­lab­o­ra­tors.”

Po­lice were search­ing the shooter’s home, in Seine-etMarne, out­side Paris.

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 at the cen­ter of the heav­ily trav­eled Champs-El­y­see at 8:50 p.m. Thurs­day Paris time.

The Reuters news agency re­ported that po­lice is­sued an ar­rest war­rant for a sec­ond sus­pect, who they said had ar­rived in France by train from Belgium.

In Wash­ing­ton, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said that the Paris shoot­ing “looks like an­other ter­ror­ist at­tack,” and he of­fered con­do­lences to France.

A wave of ter­ror­ist vi­o­lence in France in the past two years has claimed the lives of at least 230 peo­ple and in­jured hundreds of others.

Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse

Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse

Po­lice of­fi­cers pa­trol

in the area of the Champs-El­y­sees af­ter a shoot­ing Thurs­day night, just days be­fore the first round of vot­ing in France’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Of­fi­cials said the gun­man, who was known to have rad­i­cal Is­lamic ties, opened fire on a po­lice car with an AK-47 be­fore be­ing shot dead by se­cu­rity forces.

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