Paris [France]: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) has issued a statement, saying an Islamic State ‘fighter’ carried out an attack into the Champs-Élysees in Paris.
The ISIS claim came via a statement released by the group’s media-wing, Amaq. The statement said the attacker is a Belgian national.
French president François Hollande said the Champs Élysees attack was “terrorist in nature” and promised “utmost vigilance” by security services to ensure security around the presidential election. He has called a defence council meeting for 8am on Friday, The Guardian reports.
Earlier, United States President Donald Trump conveyed his deep condolence to France.
“Our condolences to our country and the people of France … It looks like another terror attack,” Trump said during a joint news conference with Italy’s prime minister at the White House.
“What can you say? It just never ends,” Trump added.
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has shown solidarity with the policeman, who was killed in the shooting.
“Paying homage to the policeman killed on the Champs-Élysees. Thoughts are with his family. Solidarity with his injured colleagues and those close to them,” he tweeted.
At least one police officer was killed, two wounded and the attacker neutralised in the shooting, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV and the French Interior Ministry.
BFMTV also reported that another police officer was seriously injured and an unidentified man was hit by the “cross-fire” in the the Champs-Elysees area.
BFMTV has not specified if the unidentified man was the attacker or a bystander.
Following the shoot out, the Champs-Elysees was closed and authorities were telling people to avoid the area.
The shooting comes three days before French General Elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert.
The Presidential Palace, the Elysee, is only a few blocks away.
The French Police tweeted, “Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces.”
Meanwhile, French Ministry of Interior Spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFMTV that the assailant “got out of the vehicle and shot at the police vehicle with an automatic weapon, killing one policeman instantly.”
The man “then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen. Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker,” Brandet said.
The attack started around 9 p.m. local time in Paris, when a vehicle stopped next to a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road. Policemen were both inside and outside the vehicle. The shooter got out of his car and started firing at police, Brandet said on BFMTV.
France anti-terror prosecutors have opened investigation into the attack.
French anti-terror prosecutors and the National Intelligence Service opened an investigation to determine the nature of the incident on the Champs Elysees, according to the Paris Prosecutor’s Office in a text to CNN, looking at terror as a possible motive in this attack. (ANI)