Another terrorist attack in Paris? (VIDEO)
A police officer has died and two are seriously wounded after a shooting near the Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris, local media reported.
Pierre-Henry Brandet, of the French interior ministry, said the attacker opened fire on a police van on the Champs Élysées on Thursday night, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others.
At about 9 pm the man drove a car up to a parked police van full of officers. He got out of the car and fired an automatic weapon, killing one officer in the van, before shooting at others who were standing on the nearby pavement, injuring two before he was shot dead by police.
The shooting was said to have happened in the area near the Marks & Spencer shop on the Champs Élysées.
ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement by the jihadi group’s propaganda agency Amaq. According to AFP, the statement said the attacker was one of the group’s “fighters” known as Abu Yussef, “the Belgian”. The statement offered no evidence to support the claim.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor François Molins said that security officials had verified the attacker’s identity, although he did not release the name. Molins said that investigators were trying to determine whether the attacker had any accomplices, the Guardian reported.
Citing sources close to the inquiry, AFP said he was a 39-year-old who had been under investigation by anti-terrorist officers for having shown an intention to kill police. A police search was carried out at a home in Seine-et-Marne outside Paris.
AFP, Le Parisien and other news outlets reported that the attacker had been jailed in 2005 for the attempted murder of three police officers.
Authorities closed the Champs Élysées and the surrounding streets and called on the public to avoid the area, as a police helicopter flew low over central Paris.
A police source told AFP a tourist had been “slightly injured” by a shard of bullet that struck her knee during the shooting.