A terror suspect gunned down a police officer and wounded two others on Paris’s Champs Elysees. The shooter opened fire with an automatic weapon on a police car on the world-famous boulevard at around 9:00 pm (local time) yesterday, prompting tourists and visitors to run for their lives. After killing the officer and injuring his colleagues, the gunman was shot dead in return fire while trying to flee on foot, according to AFP report. Notably, the attack took place days before France’s presidential election.
Here are the key developments
1. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, in a statement by the jihadists’ propaganda agency Amaq. “The perpetrator of the attack in Champs Elysees in central Paris is Abu Yussef the Belgian and he is one of the Islamic State’s fighters,” said an IS statement published by its propaganda agency Amaq.
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2. One officer was killed and two police officers were seriously wounded when the attacker emerged from a car and used an automatic weapon to shoot at officers outside a Marks & Spencer’s department store at the center of the Champs-Elysees, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said. A female foreign tourist also was wounded, Molins said.
3. Security concerns took centre stage in the last days of France’s tight presidential race as candidates defended their stance on the fight against terror in the wake of a shooting in Paris which killed one policeman. Voters will cast ballots in the first round on Sunday of what has turned into the most unpredictable French election in memory as the gap between four frontrunners narrows. The two candidates who get the most votes will then face off in a run-off election on May 7.
4. The shooting unfolded on the world-famous Paris site as presidential contenders were mid-way through back-to-back television appearances to sell their campaign programmes. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group’s Amaq news agency.
5. Some of the candidates later clashed over whether official campaigning, which has just one more day to run, should be brought to a full stop in light of the incident.
6. “In this current context, there are no grounds to continue campaigning. We must first show our solidarity with the police,” conservative candidate Francois Fillon told the France 2 show, after saying he would cancel a trip to the Alps on Friday. Fillon, who has sought to reinforce his credentials as a hard-liner on security, added that fighting “Islamist totalitarianism” must be the priority for the next president.
7. Far-left politician Jean-Luc Melenchon said the candidates should not cave in to violence. “As we wait for more definite information, I think we need to attend to our duties as citizens: no panic, we shouldn’t interrupt our democratic process,” Melenchon said.
8. US President Donald Trump on Thursday condemned the Paris terrorist attack, saying there is a need to stay strong and vigilant. “First of all, our condolences from our country to the people of France. Again, it is happening, it seems…It is a very, very terrible thing that’s going on in the world today,” Trump told reporters in a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Palo Gentiloni.
9. French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has shown solidarity with the policeman, who was killed in a shooting in Paris on Thursday. “Paying homage to the policeman killed on the Champs-Élysées. Thoughts are with his family. Solidarity with his injured colleagues and those close to them,” he tweeted.
10. Paris prosecutor said “have identified Paris gunman, still assessing whether he had accomplices.