The Guardian wrote:Two policemen have been killed and two wounded in a shooting incident in central Paris, a police source said.
A man opened fire on police on Thursday night on the Champs-Élysées and was killed by return fire, a police source told Reuters.
Pierre-Henry Brandet of the French interior ministry said the attacker had driven up to the site of the attack by car. He got out of the car and used an automatic weapon to fire on a police van.
The attacker killed one police officer and seriously wounded two other officers, said Brandet. He tried to fire at others as he ran off before being shot dead by police. One of the injured officers died of his wounds soon after.
The Paris anti-terrorist police are investigating the incident.
Authorities closed the boulevard and the surrounding streets and called on the public to avoid the area.
A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man’s body on the ground and that the area was quickly evacuated by police.
The shooting was said to have happened in the area near the Marks & Spencer shop on the Champs Elysées.
A helicopter was flying low over central Paris, apparently part of a follow-up police operation.
One police source said the attacker was “known to the authorities.” A search was underway at the attacker’s home east of Paris.
The incident comes days before the first round of the French presidential election on Sunday. Security had already been stepped up at political rallies this week after the arrest of two men on Tuesday suspected of plotting an “imminent and violent attack” in the run-up to Sunday’s vote.
There was no information on whether or not the Paris incident was linked in any way to the arrests earlier this week.
Officials said the men who had been arrested on Tuesday were seeking to “have an impact in this [electoral] period” and had amassed an arsenal of weapons and bomb-making equipment, including 3kg of homemade explosive found in the flat where they were staying.
On Wednesday, the Paris anti-terror court had opened a preliminary investigation into one of the suspects, Mahiedine Merabet, 29, on 5 April, after receiving a tip-off from British intelligence that he had tried to make contact with Islamic State in order to send them a video expressing his support for the terrorist group.
The previous day Merabet had sent his identity card and bank card to the police station near his last known residence in Roubaix, northern France, along with a note, explaining: “Because of you, I can’t use them. I’ll hand myself in soon and we’ll talk. What do you, the police, want with me. Leave me alone, I’ve nothing to say to you.”
Merabet was already on the security service’s radar after a December 2016 raid on the Roubaix flat, where an Isis flag and propaganda was reportedly found. He disappeared and his flatmate gave a false identity. It was only after talking to Merabet’s family in Marseille that police realised the second man at the flat was Clément Baur, 23, a Muslim convert. The two met in prison where they shared a cell in 2015.
Search warrants were put out for the pair, both on the Fiche-S, a list of those suspected of being a threat to national security.
Police stepped up the search on 12 April after intercepting a video, reportedly filmed in a Marseille apartment, that showed Merabet with an Uzi submachine gun, ammunition, an Isis flag and photographs of children allegedly killed in French and American bombing raids in Syria. The film’s title was: “The Law of Retaliation”, a police source told French journalists.
A copy of Le Monde newspaper with a front-page picture of the presidential candidate François Fillon and dated 16 March was also filmed.
The five main presidential candidates were immediately alerted and advised to increase security, both personal and around their political meetings.
The Paris prosecutor François Molins said on Tuesday that the arrests of Merabet and Baur had been the result of “international cooperation”, but admitted investigators were trying to establish their planned targets.
As France’s interior minister announced “exceptional” security measures for the presidential campaign, the five main candidates responded by downplaying the threat and continuing electioneering.
Hoo boy, Marine should send him flowers.
Checking my privilege - yep, still good