Paris shopping mall 'in second shooting' after Champs-Elysees killing

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A KNOWN terror suspect gunned down a police officer and wounded two others in the heart of Paris in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group days before France's presidential election.

The ISIS claim came via a statement released by the group's media-wing, Amaq.

SHAPIRO: And I should say that because we are just in the early stages of receiving news about this, reports are shifting.

On Thursday night, a shooting was carried out at the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in the French capital, leading to the death of one police officer. French politicians immediately reacted on social media.

French presidential candidates were united in their support for police Thursday night, after an officer was killed in Paris.

The attacker had been flagged as an extremist, according to two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

"A man immediately got out and opened fire on the police vehicle, fatally wounding a police officer". A bystander was also reportedly wounded. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, he said.

Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who's been rising rapidly in the polls, wrote on Twitter: "My thoughts are with the policemen dead and injured and their families". The auto was abandoned at the scene. He said officers are searching the man's residence in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, a Paris suburb, and are trying to determine if he had accomplices.

He had been convicted in 2005 of three counts of attempted murder, with two of these against police officers, sources said.

Police raided the man's home in a Paris suburb after the violence on the bustling, world-famous boulevard.

That incident brought issues of security and immigration back to the forefront of the campaign, with the anti-immigration National Front leader Marine Le Pen repeating her call for Europe's partly open borders to be closed.

Police have swarmed on the iconic boulevard.

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Speaking after the attack, French President Francois Hollande said security forces would be vigilant during the forthcoming presidential election.

"The sense of duty of our policemen tonight averted a massacre. they prevented a bloodbath on the Champs Elysees", Interior Minister Matthias Fekl told reporters.

"A little after 9 PM a vehicle stopped alongside a police auto which was parked". Presidential candidates have two more days to campaign before the election on Sunday.

The attack occurred on the most famous avenue in Paris, not far from another landmark, the Arc de Triomphe.

Like the attacks in late 2015 on the Bataclan Theatre and the 10th arrondissement restaurants, it appeared created to strike at the cultural heart of one of Europe's most important cities.

Earlier this week, in a separate incident, French authorities arrested two men in Marseille, saying they were suspected of planning an "imminent" attack ahead of the election and were found in possession of an arsenal of weapons. "Authorities are telling people to avoid the area after a shooting". Although initial reports said two officers were shot dead, a spokesman for the French Interior Ministry said the second policeman had not actually died of his wounds as initially reported. "Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker", Brandet said.

French TV channel BFM broadcast footage of the Arc de Triomphe monument and top half of the Champs-Elysees packed with police vans, lights flashing and heavily armed police shutting the area down after what was described by one journalist as a major exchange of fire near a Marks and Spencers store.

Witness Chelloug, a kitchen assistant, told Reuters he was walking out of a shop and saw a man get out of a auto and open fire with a rifle on a policeman.

At a news conference Thursday alongside Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, President Trump said, "Our condolences from our country to the people of France".

The presidential palace, the Elysee, is a few blocks away.

Hollande's defense and security council meeting was part of government efforts to protect Sunday's vote, taking place under already heightened security, with more than 50,000 police and soldiers mobilized, and a state of emergency in place since 2015.

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