One policeman was shot dead and two others wounded in central Paris by a lone gunman, who was shot and killed by French police while fleeing the scene early Thursday morning.
The Champs-Elysees was sealed off after a lone gunman opened fire, killing one and injuring two, in what has been deemed a “terrorist-related” attack by President François Hollande.
ISIS claims that one of their fighters carried out the attack, though it isn’t clear at this time who is responsible.
Islamist militancy has become a major issue for much of the French electorate in recent election polls after mass terror attacks claimed by ISIS have resulted in the deaths of 238 people in France since 2015, according to BBC.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins later said that “the attacker’s identity is known and has been verified.”
“I won’t reveal it, because investigations and raids are already under way, in particular to establish whether there is any evidence or not of complicity [in this attack.]”
Meanwhile, ISIS identified the attacker as Abu-Yusuf al-Baljiki, in a statement put forward by its Amaq news outlet.
This attack could be pivotal in the first round of France’s upcoming presidential election on April 23rd. Recent polling averages show Emmanuel Macron, the centrist who left his government job to create his own political party — En Marche! — and run for president, leading by over 1%. Marine Le Pen, a right-wing nationalist of the Front National, is close behind in second. With a campaign based heavily on populism and anti-immigration views, an attack so close to the election could give her the boost in support that she needs to secure her top-2 position going into a second round of voting.
A poll earlier this week found that more than half of French police officers plan to cast their vote for the populist anti-immigration politician at the weekend.
All of the candidates up for election expressed their horror at this morning’s attack. The National Front leader said the terror threat facing France stemmed from “laxity,” and within minutes of the attack tweeted her solidarity with security forces.
Francois Fillon, candidate for the Republicans, has called for the suspension of the coming election following the attack.
Photo Credit: Christian Hartmann/Reuters
This post was written by Nicholas Amato.
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