3 Paris Officers Shot, 1 Fatally, In Champs-Elysees Attack | WABE 90.1 FM

3 Paris Officers Shot, 1 Fatally, In Champs-Elysees Attack

Apr 20, 2017

PARIS—An attacker with an automatic weapon opened fire on police in Paris' iconic Champs-Elysees shopping district Thursday night, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others before police shot and killed him.

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Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the avenue popular with tourists. She said he appeared to be acting alone.

Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene. The Paris prosecutor's office said counterterrorism investigators are involved in the probe.

The attack came three days before the first round of balloting in France's tense presidential election. Security is high preceding the vote after police said they arrested two men Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack.

In Thursday's attack, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. He said officers were "deliberately" targeted.

Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump said the shooting in Paris "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent condolences to France.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the shootings. In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the group gave a pseudonym for the shooter indicating he was Belgian.

The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria.

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

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide avenue that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Gardens, normally packed with cars and tourists. Subway stations were closed off.

Security forces are more widespread in Paris since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, and France remains under a state of emergency.

French President Francois Hollande scheduled an emergency meeting Thursday night.

The incident recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris, one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.