A French police officer was killed and two others were injured in an attack in central Paris on Thursday. The attack happened at night on the Champs Elysees boulevard, which was quickly evacuated after the shooting.
The gunman was shot and killed by police officers in the area, which was crowded with residents and tourists. Champs Elysees boulevard was evacuated and guarded by police officers and police vehicles as authorities continue to investigate.
Police are now investigating to see if there was a second gunman during the shooting. Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said it could not be ruled out that there were others involved in the attack. The spokesman also said the attack began when the attacker opened fire on a police van.
Police officers searched the attacker’s home after the shooting. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the shooting.
After the attack, authorities called on the public to avoid the area as they continue to investigate. Pictures and TV footage showed the area surrounded by police vehicles and officers.
The shooting comes just days before the country’s presidential election. President Hollande said that they shall be of the utmost vigilance, especially in relation to the election. The president election, which will take place on Sunday, is one of the closest in recent years.
Security in France, which has suffered a number of attacks in the last two years, has been a big topic before the presidential elections, with Marine Le Pen saying she will close borders if elected.
A few days ago, authorities arrested two men in Marseille for planning an attack before the election. Police said they found a machine gun, two hand guns and explosives in the apartment of the suspects.
French presidential candidate Francois Fillon suspended the events he had planned on Friday. After announcing the suspension of his campaign event tomorrow, he also called for all campaign events to be suspended. Presidential candidates have two more days to campaign before the election on Sunday.
Authorities are still investigating the attack and are currently trying to find out if there was a second attacker. One witness told Reuters that she saw a man get out of a car and open fire on a police officer. French President Francois Hollande said he is convinced the shooting is a terrorist act.