Another deadly attack in Paris
Islamic State claims it carried out gun assault against police officers
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.
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.