Paris terror attack: Police search home after officer’s death on Champs-Elysees – USA TODAY
Authorities in Paris say an attacker who killed a police officer and wounded another in the Champs-Elysees shopping district has been shot dead. (April 20)
Police have searched a home in the Paris suburb of Chelles after Thursday’s terror attack that left one police officer dead and two other people wounded.
Authorities believe the residence east of Paris that is home to Karim Cheurfi, 39, is linked to the shooting that took place on the Champs-Elysees, the Associated Press reported.
Cheurfi has a police record and is known to authorities, according to the Associated Press and CNN.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting in which the assailant died in the exchange of gunfire.
The assault in the popular tourist area came just three days before a critical presidential election in which security has loomed as a major issue.
The Islamic State identified the attacker as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki through its Amaq news agency, according to SITE Intel Group, a U.S.-based organization that monitors terrorists’ activity online.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert initially told the AP that the gunman deliberately targeted police on guard near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station, and appeared to act alone. On Thursday evening, the Telegraph reported that police in Paris issued an arrest warrant for a second suspect who arrived by train from Belgium.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM television that a man stepped from a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. A witness told Reuters that the attacker opened fire with a machine gun.
Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, said via Twitter that she salutes “the dedication, bravery and professionalism of the police and rescue forces,” and thanked shopkeepers who sheltered many passersby when the shooting erupted.
“In the face of this ordeal,” Hidalgo tweeted, “the determination of the Parisians to defend their way of life and their values is total.”
“My thoughts go to the family of the killed policeman and the relatives of the wounded,” French President Francois Hollande said via Twitter. “A national tribute will be given.”
President Trump, addressing reporters at the White House, said, “It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It just never ends. We have to be strong.”
Security has been high in France since Tuesday, when police apprehended two men suspected of plotting an imminent terror attack. A French station hosting a televised event with the 11 presidential candidates briefly interrupted its broadcast to report Thursday’s shooting.
The first round of a hotly contested presidential election takes place Sunday, with an independent and candidates on the far-right and far-left threatening to upend mainstream parties that have ruled France for decades. A string of terror attacks over the past 18 months has become a major issue in the campaign, along with concerns about France’s high unemployment and rising immigration.
Hollande is not running for another term because his approval rating is so low.
As the terror attack unfolded, police blocked off key roadways in the heart of the French capital and told people to avoid the area. The broad avenues leading to the Arc de Triomphe were filled with police vehicles flashing blue lights.
French prosecutors opened a terrorism investigation into the attack. Two police officers told AP the attacker had been flagged as an extremist, but offered no further details. The officers spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity to share information about the ongoing investigation.
France has lived under a state of emergency that was declared following multiple terrorist attacks in November 2015 that left 130 dead.
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