Champs Elysees attack: What we know




  • In World
  • 2017-04-21 08:54:10Z
  • By AFP
The gunman opened fire on a police van just a few hundred metres from the iconic Arc de Triomphe
The gunman opened fire on a police van just a few hundred metres from the iconic Arc de Triomphe

Paris (AFP) - A gunman shot and killed a policeman and wounded two others on the world-famous Champs Elysees avenue in Paris on Thursday night, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Here is what we currently know about the shooting, which took place just days before the first round of the French election.

- The attack -

At approximately 9:00pm (1900 GMT), the gunman pulled out an automatic weapon and opened fire on a police van just a few hundred metres from the iconic Arc de Triomphe on one of the world's most famous boulevards.

One officer was killed and the gunman fled on foot. During the ensuing gun battle -- witnesses spoke of a short but intense exchange of fire -- the suspected attacker was killed and two other officers wounded.

The Champs Elysees, busy with tourists and locals on a pleasant spring evening, became a scene of panic. Diners in some restaurants took refuge in basements while pandemonium broke out in the nearest metro station, according to witnesses.

Police sealed off the area immediately with dozens of emergency vehicles and helicopters buzzed overhead.

- Was it terrorism? -

Anti-terror prosecutors immediately took up the investigation and President Francois Hollande said it was "of a terrorist nature."

Police said the shooter was a known terror suspect who had been convicted in 2005 of three counts of attempted murder -- two of them against police officers.

The Islamic State jihadist group claimed that one of their "fighters" carried out the attack but said it was "Abu Yussef the Belgian", whereas French authorities believe the perpetrator was a 39-year-old Frenchman living in the Paris suburbs.

This raised concerns that a possible second attacker could be on the loose.

On Friday, France said they were hunting for a new suspect based on a Belgian alert received a day earlier, but it later emerged the man had handed himself into a police station in the Belgian city of Antwerp.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, US President Donald Trump was in no doubt, saying: "It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It just never ends."

- What impact on the election? -

France, which has suffered from a wave of bloodshed over the past two years killing more than 230 people, has long feared an attack on the presidential election, the first round of which takes place on Sunday.

Authorities foiled an attack in the southern city of Marseille just a day before a campaign appearance by far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Polls suggest that voters have been influenced more by France's sluggish economy and sky-high unemployment than terror fears but analysts have always stressed that this would change in the event of bloodshed.

Le Pen is seen as the "hardest" on the terror threat and has switched her campaign rhetoric back to core issues of immigration and the fight against terrorism in recent days.

Some analysts have speculated that the attack could benefit conservative Francois Fillon, a former prime minister seen as an experienced hand at a time of crisis -- despite an expenses scandal that rocked his campaign.

The inexperienced front-running centrist Emmanuel Macron and late-surger from the far left Jean-Luc Melenchon are not seen as particular experts on security and foreign policy.

Macron is currently leading the polls but any of these four candidates could feature in the second-round run-off on May 7, surveys suggest.

burs-ric/gj/hmw

COMMENTS

More Related News

Iraqi forces set sight on Old City riverside, PM sees Mosul victory soon
Iraqi forces set sight on Old City riverside, PM sees Mosul victory soon
  • World
  • 2017-06-27 12:04:17Z

By Stephen Kalin MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi forces on Tuesday pushed towards the river side of Mosul's Old City, their key target in the eight-month campaign to capture Islamic State's de-facto capital, and Iraq's prime minister predicted victory very soon. Iraqi forces, battling up

U.S. eyes arms for YPG fighters in Syria even after Raqqa
U.S. eyes arms for YPG fighters in Syria even after Raqqa's fall
  • World
  • 2017-06-27 08:29:41Z

By Phil Stewart MUNICH (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday left open the possibility of longer-term assistance to Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, saying the U.S. may need to supply them weapons and equipment even after the capture of Raqqa from Islamic State. NATO ally Turkey, which

US Government Websites Hacked By ISIS Propaganda
US Government Websites Hacked By ISIS Propaganda

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's website was hacked to broadcast pro-ISIS propaganda, displaying a message in Arabic message and playing a call to Islamic prayer.

Mosul celebrates first Eid without Islamic State in years
Mosul celebrates first Eid without Islamic State in years
  • World
  • 2017-06-25 19:10:26Z

By Alaa Marjani MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - People in the Iraqi city of Mosul celebrated their first Muslim Eid holiday without Islamic State in years on Sunday after the militants were ejected from much of the city, and hoped the battle to recapture the remaining area would soon be over. Some played on

Europeans learn to live with _ and adapt to _ terror attacks
Europeans learn to live with _ and adapt to _ terror attacks
  • World
  • 2017-06-25 11:24:44Z

PARIS (AP) - The jihadis' targets in Europe are depressingly repetitive: the Brussels metro, the Champs-Elysees in Paris (twice), tourist-filled bridges in London (twice) and a U.K. rock concert. And that's just the past few months.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.