2 officers killed in Paris attack; shooter 'neutralized'

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

He said one police officer was killed and two others were seriously injured and hospitalized.

Speaking after an emergency meeting of top security officials, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said all elite units were on top alert for the election to back up the 50,000 police already earmarked for special election duty.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The UK strongly condemns the appalling terrorist attack in Paris".

The attack was carried out around 9 pm on Thursday night when a auto stopped near a parked vehicle of the police. "A man got out and opened fire with a kalashnikov on a policeman", witness Chelloug, a kitchen assistant, told Reuters.

"We are suffering the consequences of a laxity that has continued for years", she said shortly before the shooting, promising to take a hard line against extremists and anyone suspected of being an Islamist.

The UK Foreign Office said: "The British embassy is in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of a shooting incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris".

The shooting comes just two days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

In Washington, President Donald Trump said during a news conference with the visiting Italian prime minister that the Paris shooting "looks like another terrorist attack", and he offered condolences to France.

The attack's impact on the outcome of one of the most unpredictable election contests in decades is unclear, but far-right leader Marine Le Pen and scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon immediately cancelled their campaign events on Friday.

The attacker is believed to have deliberately targeted the officers, according to reports, and was known to security services. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

On July 26, 2016, two armed men cut a priest's throat and told others hostage in a church in Normandy during Mass. Police killed the attackers, who ISIS claimed as followers.

Eyewitness Badi Ftaiti said: "They were running, running".

He said it was too early to say whether the attacker might have had an accomplice, and said authorities were studying multiple potential motives. "We have to be strong, we have to be vigilant", he said.

Subway stations in the area were closed off on Thursday night while police secure the scene.

You know, France is three days away from a presidential election, and it is now under - everyone around the world is watching this country, so anyone who wants to get noticed could be doing something like that.

Many police vehicles can be seen on the famous avenue.

"Police operation taking place in the Champs Elysee area", they said.

French interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters the shooting started when a vehicle stopped alongside a stationary police auto.

France has lived under a state of emergency declared following a terrorist attack in November 2015 that left 130 dead.

French President Francois Hollande said he is convinced the circumstances of the latest attack pointed to a terrorist act.

Other reports by VgToday

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