Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces, source says

Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces, source says

REUTERS/Christian Hartmann Armed soldiers secure the Champs Elysees Avenue after a policeman was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting incident in Paris, France, April 20, 2017.

Meanwhile, as France's elite anti-terrorism took control of the crime scene and searched the shooter's vehicle for possible explosives dozens of police officers kept the curious away.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Once again the police family is in mourning and it serves to underline how courageous officers are putting their life on the line day in and day out to protect the public".

A key question was how the attack might affect French voters, since campaigning is banned starting Friday at midnight.

Three of the four main candidates, centrist Emmanuel Macron, centre-right François Fillon and far-right Marine Le Pen, called off planned events on Friday, which would have been the final day of campaigning.

People on the French security services' watch list for radicalization should also be expelled from France and have their French citizenship taken away, she said.

"Emotion and solidarity for our forces of order, once again targets", Le Pen said after the shooting.

Attack came days before first round of voting in presidential election.

After Le Pen spoke scathingly Friday of the government's fight against extremism, Cazeneuve noted that Le Pen's party in 2014 voted against an anti-terrorism law and, in 2015, against a law that beefed up resources for French intelligence services. Everything would have seemed normal if not for a row of TV trucks parked along the boulevard that is a must-visit for tourists.

The attacker was shot dead by police, he said.

A police officer was killed and one person was wounded in a shooting that took place at Paris's Champs Elysees on Thursday.

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The attacker emerged from a vehicle and used an automatic weapon to shoot at officers outside a Marks & Spencer's department store at the center of the Champs-Elysees.

The details emerged as police detained three relatives of the suspected gunman and police raided properties across the capital. The other two gunmen are cornered and killed by police in a siege.

The dead officer was 30, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but at this point, it is unclear if the attacker, 39-year-old Frenchman Karim Cheurfi, acted alone or not.

On its media channel, Amaq, ISIS claimed that the attack was carried out by "Abu Yousuf al-Baljiki (the Belgian) and he is one of the Islamic State's fighters".

"They were scared. They didn't know what to do, or when it would end", he said.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Police searched an address in the Paris suburb of Chelles Could the attack influence the elections?

BFMTV also reports another police officer was seriously injured and an unidentified man was hit by "cross-fire" in the the Champs-Elysées area.

The attack appeared to fit a spreading pattern of European extremists targeting security forces and symbols of state to discredit, take vengeance or destabilize society.

The country has witnessed a series of Islamic militant attacks perpetrated mostly by young men, killing more than 230 people in the span of two years.

Leading presidential candidates have urged greater counterterrorism measures in a campaign already under a state of emergency.

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