2 officers killed in Paris attack; shooter 'neutralized'

Paris Attack

The attacker pulled up beside a police auto on the central Paris avenue and opened fire, killing one of the officers in the vehicle, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

The Islamic State reported through its Amaq news agency that the attacker was Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, which was confirmed by the USA organization that monitors terrorists' activity online, SITE Intel Group.

Dramatic footage emerged after the attack showing police shooting at the assailant.

And the pseudonym, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicated that the attacker already had ties of some sort to Islamic State extremists.

The gunman, identified as Karim Cheurfi, opened fire on a police vehicle parked on the Champs Elysees in Paris late on Thursday, killing one officer and injuring two others before being shot dead.

CNN affiliate BFMTV also reported an unidentified man was hit by "cross-fire" in the Champs-Elysees area.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Forensic experts collect evidences from the auto belonging to an attacker who killed a police officer on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Friday, April 21, 2017.

The gunman was shot dead by other officers, and a woman tourist was also wounded in the incident on Thursday night.

A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.

Thursday's attack happened around 9 p.m. Paris time when authorities say the gunman in a vehicle pulled up alongside a parked law enforcement van on the city's most well-know stretch and opened fire. He had been arrested in February on suspicion of plotting to kill police officers but released because of lack of evidence.

French candidates spar over corruption in debate
Le Pen said she had "not voted for the text" in the European Parliament, but did not specify that she had only abstained. Le Pen has pushed to normalize the ultra-conservative National Front and scour racism and anti-Semitism from its ranks.

Three police sources said, however, that the shooting could have been an attempt at an armed robbery.

Police raided the man's home in a Paris suburb after the violence on the bustling, world-famous boulevard.

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.

Police have swarmed on the iconic boulevard.

Anti-terror prosecutors immediately took up the investigation and President Francois Hollande said the attack was of "a terrorist nature". Hollande held an emergency meeting with the prime minister Thursday night and planned to convene the defense council Friday morning.

"We will be absolutely vigilant, in particular with regard to the electoral process", he said.

One of the suspects had allegedly attempted to send members of Islamic State a video pledging allegiance or claiming an attack.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen said the attack showed the time for naivety "is over".

Like the attacks in late 2015 on the Bataclan Theatre and the 10th arrondissement restaurants, it appeared created to strike at the cultural heart of one of Europe's most important cities. "Authorities are telling people to avoid the area after a shooting".

They [the police] were deliberately targeted.

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