Belgium: ISIS naming of Belgian attacker was fake

Campaigning and the publication of voter surveys are banned from midnight on Friday until polling stations close.

Hollande, who said he was convinced the shooting was a "terrorist act", cancelled a trip to Bretagne and will chair a security Cabinet meeting on Friday.

"It's too early to say how or whether he was connected to what happened on the Champs Elysees", ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said. He added that the intelligence services are working "in the shadows" and elite intervention police forces are also on alert. France has suffered a series of Islamist militant attacks that have killed more than 230 people in the past two years, with the country operating in a state of emergency since 2015. Delivery trucks were making their rounds.

Officers at the scene said they were searching for a potential second assailant, and a police source said an arrest warrant had been issued for a suspect in the shooting who had arrived in Paris from Belgium by train.

One officer was killed and the gunman fled on foot.

The prosecutor's office also said investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in the gunman's vehicle and were trying to determine if he had accomplices. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency, but investigations by authorities are still underway.

A Belgian man suspected to have been involved in the attack turned himself in after seeing reports that he was a suspect on social media, the AP reported.

In a statement, the United Kingdom government said it "strongly condemns the appalling terrorist attack in Paris".

Police tape surrounded the quiet, middle-class neighbourhood as residents expressed their dismay at the searches.

The attacker had been flagged as an extremist, according to two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the investigation. Belgian security officials had warned French counterparts before the attack that El Osri was a "very risky individual en route to France" aboard the Thalys high-speed train.

Rival candidates Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron will make statements on the security situation later today.

US President Donald Trump acknowledged the attack during a press conference on Thursday.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) said one of its "fighters" had carried out the attack.

Three of the main candidates in Sunday's poll called off planned events on Friday, the final day of campaigning.

The attack brought back the recurrent campaign theme of France's fight against Islamic extremism, one of the mainstays of the anti-immigration platform of far-right leader Marine Le Pen and also, to a lesser extent, of Mr Fillon, a former prime minister. Sunday's round of voting will be followed by a second-round runoff on May 7 between the top two candidates.

  • Salvatore Jensen