Paris has suffered another terrorist attack, leaving an officer dead and two in critical condition.
The shooting attack that occurred on the famous Champs-Élysées avenue was quickly claimed by Isis via their news outlet, and named the male attacker as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating also that he was Belgian.
French police released details to Associated Press, saying a 39-year-old attacker, Karim Cheurfi, had previously been flagged as an extremist by the anti-terror police and is the prime suspect. A house raid was conducted in the east of Paris, believed to be the residence of Cheurfi.
However, a man wanted over the attack has also reportedly turned himself over to authorities in Antwerp, Belgium. The name of the suspect is currently being withheld.
Paris prosecutors have also said they have identified the suspect, but are refusing to release further details until they can establish if he acted alone. He was shot dead by police after killing one officer in a car and opening fire on two others. One witness said they saw the suspect firing a Kalashnikov rifle.
France’s Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet confirmed that the suspect used “a weapon of war” when he opened fire on the officers after stopping beside a police car.
“A man immediately got out and opened fire on the police car, fatally wounding a police officer … He also wounded a second one, it would seem very seriously,” Brandet said.
Johanna Primevert a spokeswoman for the Paris police said the police guarding the busy Franklin Roosevelt subway station were the targets of the attacker.
The Champs-Élysées, famous for its shopping and stunning boulevard, is considered the heart of Paris, running from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, it draws in thousands of tourists a day, as well as locals. The city came to a standstill, with nearby metro stations shut down and armed officers closely guarding its entrance.
Attacks were long suspected to occur during the French elections, with two suspected terrorists arrested in Marseilles only two days ago – with weapons and explosives in their possession.
French President Francois Hollande condemned the attack and tributed the police involved.
The attack comes days before the French are due to go to the polls for the first round of the presidential election.
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