Three Paris police officers shot on the Champs-Élysées; one dies

Three Paris police officers shot on the Champs-Élysées; one dies

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The Champs-Élysées, which is filled with shops and restaurants, is popular with tourists. (Bretwa/Wikimedia/file photo)

UPDATED 8 A.M. EDT FRIDAY

WASHINGTON – A gunman wielding a machine gun shot three police officers on the Champs-Élysées in central Paris Thursday night, killing one and critically injuring the others.

The assailant jumped out of an Audi on the famous boulevard and opened fire on a police van stopped at a red light. Witnesses said about a dozen shots were fired.

A passing female tourist was wounded by a ricocheting bullet fired by the attacker.

Heavily armed officers flooded the area and the tourist mecca was on lockdown by 9 p.m. local time.

The attacker was shot dead as he tried to escape. Paris prosecutors identified him as Karim Cheurfi,39, a French national with a long criminal record who was reportedly known to intelligence agencies. Authorities described hm as an extremist. He was reportedly radicalized while serving a 20-year sentence for attempting to kill two officers in 2001.

Police said his car was loaded with weapons, including a shotgun and knives.

 

The attack took place as presidential candidates participated in a TV debate nearby before Sunday’s election.

A second man suspected of being linked to the shooting surrendered in Belgium. French police arrested three relatives of Cheurfi.
ISIS claimed that one of its fighters, “the Belgian,” carried out the attack.

French anti-terror prosecutors and the National Intelligence Service are investigating the shootings.

The three leading presidential candidates, François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen, canceled campaign events after the shootings. Friday is the last day for campaigning before Sunday’s first round of voting.
Le Pen has vowed to take a tough line on “Islamic terrorism.” At a news conference Friday, she called for the closure of all “Islamist” mosques in France, the expulsion of hate preachers and the reinstatement of French borders.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve accused Le Pen of trying to capitalize on the attack.
Fillon said that if elected he will focus on the destruction of ISIS.
“We are at war,” he said. “This fight for freedom and for the security of the French people must be the priority of the next five-year term.”

President Donald Trump said of the shootings: “It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say … it just never ends.”

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