(Vatican Radio) The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a shooting in Paris that has killed one policeman, and injured two other officers as well as a bystander on the central boulevard of the Champs-Elysées. France President Francois Hollande linked the attack to terrorism and confirmed that the shooter was also killed.
Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:
The center of Paris appeared a war zone with special security forces pushing people away from several areas, and rushing to the streets to step up a security.
Thursday's shooting came just before the French presidential elections. The shooter, who killed, was known to France’s security sources, French media reported, quoting police.
French President Hollande quickly appeared on national television to share more details with a worried nation. "This evening at nine a clock police people in a car were attacked at the Champs-Elysée," said Hollande who was due to meet top security, defence and intelligence officials on Friday.
"One policeman was killed, two others were injured. A woman who walked there was also injured," he explained.
"The attacker has been neutralized. We are convinced that the path the investigation is on will reveal that this event is of a terrorist nature," Hollande stressed, adding that his thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones.
The choice of one of the world’s most famous avenues is seen as symbolic. Islamic State state said one of its “fighters” carried out the attack, naming him as “The Belgian”.
Other reports, unconfirmed but quoting sources close to the inquiry, have suggested the suspect may be a French national.
The Paris prosecutor François Molins says the gunman has been identified, but his name will not be revealed until investigators determine whether he had accomplices.
It came as a shock for people in Paris as the city is still recovering of several attack including those in November 2015, which was the bloodiest attack in the Western world in years. In a coordinated string of attacks — bombings and mass shootings — some 130 people were massacred and scores more were injured.