PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the shootings of three police officers in Paris (all times local):
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the shooting on Paris’ Champs Elysees that killed a police officer and left two others gravely wounded.
In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the group gave a pseudonym for the shooter indicating he was Belgian.
The attacker opened fire on a police van on the avenue before being killed.
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.
Police officials say the assailant who shot a police officer to death and wounded two others on Paris’ Champs Elysees had been flagged as an extremist.
The officials had no other details about the attacker. He was shot to death after opening fire on a police van.
They spoke on condition of anonymity to share information about the ongoing investigation
French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation into the Champs-Elysees attack where the attacker opened fire on police in Paris’ iconic shopping district Thursday night.
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.
The latest on the shootings of two police officers in Paris (all times local):
Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump says Thursday’s fatal shooting in Paris “looks like another terrorist attack.”
It was unclear how Trump concluded that terrorism may have been a factor. Paris police have yet to announce a motive,
Trump is also offering condolences from the U.S. to the people of France.
He calls the attack a “terrible thing” and says “it never ends.” He says people must be strong and vigilant.
The attack came three days before the first round of balloting in France’s presidential election.
Paris police and soldiers have sealed off the area around the Champs-Elysees after an attack on police, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.
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 in the area were closed off on Thursday night while police secure the scene.
Security forces are more widespread in Paris since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, and France remains under a state of emergency.
The French Interior Ministry says the shooting attack on the famed Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris deliberately targeted police officers guarding the area.
Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle.
Brandet says the police officers were “deliberately” targeted.
He says police are securing the area but there is “no other police operation underway” in the popular area.
Brandet says it’s too early to say whether the attacker might have had an accomplice, and said authorities are studying multiple potential motives.
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.
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.
A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting and saw a man’s body on the ground before police quickly evacuated the area where she works in a shop.
A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.
None of the candidates immediately commented.