Terrorist killed one police officer and seriously injured two others.
A gunman opened fire on the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris and killed one police officer before being killed himself. The attack left two other people seriously injured.
ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack. The Wall Street Journal reported:
The assault began around 9 p.m., an Interior Ministry spokesman said, when a car pulled alongside a police patrol and the gunman jumped out wielding an automatic rifle. Police returned fire, killing the gunman, according to authorities.
“We can’t exclude whether there’s one or several accomplices,” Pierre-Henry Brandet, the Interior Ministry spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for antiterrorism prosecutors in Paris said they had opened an investigation into the assault. French President François Hollande said authorities were convinced it was a terror attack and expressed “great sadness” over the police officer’s death.
Brandet told the media that the terrorist “deliberately targeted” police officers.
The attack has shut down Champs-Élysées, which has the Arc de Triomphe monument. The presidential palace is located just a few blocks from the attack. Residents and tourists have left the area. It also shut down three underground stations with the Paris Metro.
According to CNN, the French authorities knew about the suspect due to “radical Islamist activities” and had been a “subject of a ‘Fiche S’ surveillance file.” The authorities use the S to flag those people they consider a serious threat to national security and allows them to conduct surveillance on the individual.
The police have now descended upon the terrorist’s “residence in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne.”
ISIS’s quick claim for responsibility has shocked a few experts. From The New York Times:
“The speed with which IS claimed responsibility is surprising,” said Peter Neumann, a counterterrorism expert and professor of Security Studies at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. “The attacker being from Belgium highlights the closeness of the Belgian-French network that carried out the Paris-Brussels attacks,” he added, referring to assaults in those cities in 2015 and 2016.
”It seems prepared and coordinated,” Mr. Neumann added, noting that the Islamic State claim was in multiple languages, “like they knew this was going to happen.”
France will hold a presidential election on Sunday, which has led to high tension in the country. France has unfortunately witnessed too many terrorist attacks in the last few years. In fact, France remains under a state of emergency since a 2015 attack that killed 130 people. Parliament decided to keep “the extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.”
Officials “arrested two men in Marseille who were allegedly planning an attack in a run-up to the election” only two days ago.
Candidates François Fillon and Marine Le Pen have canceled their events on Friday.
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