(Vatican Radio) French police have detained three family members of the attacker who was shot dead in Paris after killing a police officer on the famous Champs Elysees boulevard. A second suspect in the attack, which also injured three people, has handed himself over to Belgian police after they alerted
the French authorities of his possible involvement.
Listen to Stefan Bos' report:
A day after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for another attack in France's capital, French officials released more details about the man who shot and killed a police officer and injured two other officers and a woman.
French officials said gunman Karim Cheurfi, who was shot dead, was a troubled 39-year old. He had previously served time for the attempted murder of
three police officers in 2001 and also on the security service’s watch list.
A potential second suspect was publicly identified as Youssouf El Osri in Belgium. But his lawyer strongly denied his client had anything to 'do with the attack and said a police raid at the man's home was linked to another criminal investigation.
Thursday's attack in Paris came while the country prepared for presidential elections on Sunday. That's why French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced dramatic security measures. “Over the next few days more than 50,000 police officers and gendarmes will be mobilized to ensure a calm and peaceful election," he stressed. "Nothing must be allowed to interfere with a democratic moment fundamental to the life of our nation.”
On Friday, the main candidates were quick to urge tough action against Islamist terrorism but cancelled the final rallies they had planned.
Prime Minister Cazeneuve, a Socialist, accused two of the frontrunners - far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and conservative François Fillon - of exploiting the attack for electoral gain. He condemned Le Pen for linking the attack to immigration.
Amid the turmoil, police already raided the attacker's family home in eastern Paris looking for evidence of links with the so-called Islamic State as the group claimed he was acting on their behalf. Three family members were detained.
The latest attack has led to international condemnation. US president Donald Trump was among the first leaders to express his sorrow over the shootings in Paris. He has pledged to destroy the Islamic State group.