ISIS claims responsibility for Paris shooting

Reuters, AAP,
Publish Date
Friday, 21 April 2017, 7:37AM
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UPDATED 12.34pm Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Paris shooting which killed a police officer and wounded two others on Paris' Champs Elysees, AMAQ news agency is reporting.

The website named the attacker as Abu Yousif from Belgium.

The police man died after the man opened fire with an automatic weapon on a police van on Thursday night.

A French interior ministry spokesman said a second policeman had not died of his wounds from an attack in Paris, as had been earlier reported.

"An automatic weapon was used against police, a weapon of war," the spokesman, Pierre-Henry Brandet, told reporters, adding that the "terrorist threat" in the country remained high.

Brandet said the shooting started at shortly after 9pm when a car stopped alongside a stationary 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," he said.

A police union Twitter account tweeted the police officer was shot while in a car stopped at a red light by an attacker driving by.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station.

Police authorities urged the public to avoid the area.

Police have searched a home in a suburb east of Paris believed linked to the attack.

A police document obtained by The Associated Press identifies the address searched in the town of Chelles as the family home of Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year- old with a police record.

Two police officials told The AP that the chief suspect in Thursday's attack is a 39-year-old from an eastern Paris suburb.

Police tape surrounded the quiet, middle-class neighbourhood in Chelles early on Friday, and worried neighbours expressed surprise at the searches.

Archive reports by French newspaper Le Parisien say that Cheurfi was convicted of attacking a police officer in 2001.

Police have an arrest warrant for a second suspect in the shooting.

Police officers were deliberately targeted, but it is too early to say what the motive was, Brandet says.

Police sources had said earlier that the shooting could have been an attempt at an armed robbery.

French TV channel BFM broadcast footage of the Arc de Triomphe monument and top half of the Champs-Elysees packed with police vans, lights flashing and heavily armed police shutting the area down after what was described by one journalist as a major exchange of fire nears a Marks and Spencers store.

President Donald Trump said the shooting "looks like another terrorist attack".

It was unclear how Trump concluded that terrorism may have been a factor. Paris police have yet to announce a motive.

Trump is also offering condolences from the US to the people of France.

He calls the attack a "terrible thing" and says "it never ends". He says people must be strong and vigilant.

The incident came as French voters prepared go to the polls on Sunday in the most tightly-contested presidential election in living memory.

France has lived under a state of emergency since 2015 and has suffered a spate of Islamist militant attacks that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years.

Earlier this week, two men were arrested in Marseille whom police said had been planning an attack ahead of the election.

A machine gun, two hand guns and three kilos of TATP explosive were among the weapons found at a flat in the southern city along with jihadist propaganda materials according to the Paris prosecutor.

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