Paris police say officer and attacker shot, killed

Paris police say officer and attacker shot, killed

What happened on Thursday on the Champs Elysees?

The incident comes days before the French election, which is to take place on Sunday.

A pump-action shotgun and knives were found in his vehicle, the French TV station BFMTV reported. "And this is a very delicate period for them, just three days before the election", the Italian prime minister said.

A policeman was shot in the head and killed by a Muslim attacker who was known to authorities as an Islamic radical. The risk for the main candidates was that misjudging the public mood, making an ill-perceived gesture or comment, could damage their chances.

"Our condolences to our country and the people of France".

He said: "She seems to be deliberately forgetting everything that has been done over five years to make people forget that she opposed everything, without ever proposing anything serious or credible".

More than 50,000 police and gendarmes are mobilized to protect Sunday's first-round vote in the two-stage election, with an additional 7,000 soldiers also on patrol.

French media reported Cheurfi was on the radar of intelligence services.

A auto pulled up next to a police vehicle and a man emerged and opened fire with an automatic weapon, the spokesman said.

The attacker emerged from a auto and used an automatic weapon to shoot at officers outside a Marks & Spencer's department store at the center of the Champs-Elysees. A policewoman is killed just outside Paris the following day, while a gunman takes hostages at a Jewish supermarket, four of whom are killed. The other two gunmen are cornered and killed by police in a siege.

The slain officer was 30 years old, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said. ISIS names a man it claims was involved in the attack.

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Islamic State rushed to claim responsibility for the attack, which left the policeman and the assailant dead and three others wounded, including a civilian. But a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor, Agnes Thibault Lecuivre, said he was not on the official "Fiche S" surveillance list, which tracks individuals suspected of being radicalized.

Investigators have already searched the shooter's residence in suburban Paris.

Police tape surrounded the quiet, middle-class neighbourhood as residents expressed their dismay at the searches.

The shooting happened about 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) when a vehicle stopped at 102 Champs-Elysees in front of a police van, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said.

Following the shoot out, the Champs-Elysees was closed and authorities were telling people to avoid the area.

The official and another, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cheurfi was detained toward the end of February after speaking threateningly about police but was then released for lack of evidence.

In between, there have been a series of smaller attacks, often aimed at security forces.

Candidate Emmanuel Macron chimed-in as well.

President Francois Hollande said that he was convinced the attack was "terrorist-related".

European counterterrorism officials said they believed that the Islamic State's claim was credible.

Marine Le Pen, one of the candidates and leader of France's far-right National Front, tweeted her support of the officers. She canceled a minor campaign stop, but scheduled another.

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