Two police officers shot dead in Paris

They will battle in the first round of elections on Sunday, standing on vastly different platforms from far-right to far-left. The two top contenders will advance to a runoff on May 7.

A statement by ISIS' propaganda agency Amaq said the attacker was one of its "fighters", identifying him as "Abu Youssef the Belgian". There are also unconfirmed reports of another shooting victim, but it is unclear if that person was a bystander or another attacker.

The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility just a few hours after the attack.

Police said a search was underway at the home east of Paris of an attacker who was shot dead after opening fire on police on the Champs-Elysees, killing one police officer immediately and wounding another. "As soon as the policeman opened the door of the van, he fell".

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said no tourists or pedestrians were injured. "The candidate from National Front, like every drama, seeks to profit and use the situation to divide and benefit for exclusively political ends", he said in a televised address.

One witness was walking on the pavement nearby when the gunman appeared.

Officers at the scene said they were searching for a potential second assailant, and a police source said an arrest warrant had been issued for a suspect in the shooting who had arrived in Paris from Belgium by train.

Officers could be seen forcibly removing innocent citizens from the area as they attempted to get them to safety.

Brandit stopped short of calling the incident a terrorist attack, saying that authorities are looking at many possible motives, and that terror investigators are part of the investigation.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said he will reveal the shooter's identity on Friday at a news conference. The gunman was killed by police.

Another police officer has been wounded. He said a auto pulled up next to a police vehicle at 9pm local time (8pm BST) and a man got out opening fire with an automatic weapon.

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French President Francois Hollande convened a meeting of the country's defense council Friday.

Officials said the suspect had previously been flagged as an extremist. I thought they were firecrackers, because we all looked around the road and there was no one.

He says: "Paris is Paris".

The Islamic State cell responsible for the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015 used Kalashnikov-style rifles.

US President Donald Trump on Friday said a deadly attack in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group "will have a big effect" on France's upcoming presidential vote.

Trump is also offering condolences from the U.S.to the people of France.

He calls the attack a "terrible thing" and says "it never ends".

"We shall be of the utmost vigilance, especially in relation to the election", said President Francois Hollande, who is not himself running for re-election.

The attack happened just three short days before the first round of the French presidential election and will most likely have an effect on it, according to Simchayoff.

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide Champs-Elysees, an avenue lined with boutiques and normally packed with cars and tourists that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Gardens.

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