Paris police officers shot, 1 fatally, in Champs-Elysees attack

French election 2017 presidential candidates

The shooting comes three days before French General Elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert.

Investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in the auto of the gunman who targeted police on the Champs-Elysees, and were working to determine whether he had accomplices. Two others were wounded in what François Hollande said was a "cowardly killing" by man known to authorities and suspected of Islamic extremism.

None of the candidates immediately commented. With polling so close, and campaigning banned starting Friday at midnight, they would have no time to recover before voters cast ballots.

"This recasts the final hours of the campaign, puts law and order and fighting terrorism, immigration and national identity at the heart". While offering condolences to France, "Again it's happening, it seems", Trump said.

"The whole of Europe is targeted because it represents the values and ideals of peace", he said. So there are thousands - 50,000 extra police out on the streets in front of this election ahead of this election, and everyone is on edge right now. France is still under a state of emergency, following the Paris attacks in 2015 that left 130 dead.

In Thursday's attack, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a auto and opened fire on a police vehicle.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility after one police officer was killed in a rare exchange of gunfire on the famed Champs-Elysees in central Paris just days before a critical presidential election.

A police arrest warrant issued earlier on Thursday, which was seen by Reuters after the attack, warned of a risky individual who had come into France by train from Belgium on Thursday. The attacker was also shot and killed. One officer was killed and two seriously wounded.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said the man had been identified, though they did not release his name and investigators were still assessing if he had accomplices.

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In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the group gave a pseudonym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating he was Belgian or had lived in Belgium.

Police tape surrounded the quiet, middle-class neighborhood and anxious neighbors expressed surprise at the searches.

At least one police officer was killed, and the attacker was neutralised in the shooting, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV and the French Interior Ministry.

The French Police tweeted, "Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces".

Two police officials said the main suspect was a 39-year-old from the eastern Paris suburb.

In February, a man armed with a machete in each hand attacked soldiers on patrol at Paris's Louvre Museum. France remains under a state of emergency. Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron offered his thoughts to the family of the dead officer.

Speaking in Indonesia Friday, US Vice President Mike Pence said the attack was just the latest reminder "that terrorism can strike anywhere at any time".

In the aftermath of the attack, French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon cancelled a planned election campaign outing which was scheduled Friday which would anyhow has to end on Friday evening.

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