French police detain family members of Paris attacker

The attack rocked France's presidential race Friday with just days to go before one of the closest races in recent memory.

The gunman who shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in Paris was detained in February for threatening police and then freed.

He said more than 50,000 police and gendarmes and 7,000 soldiers would be on duty for Sunday's first-round vote in the two-stage election, and nothing could be allowed to "hamper this democratic moment".

Thursday's attack in Paris came while the country prepared for presidential elections on Sunday.

Macron, who is narrowly leading Le Pen in the polls, also pledged to hire 10,000 new police and create a taskforce to defeat ISIS, but urged voters to "not give in to fear".

Ottawa added its voice to the growing chorus of worldwide condemnation of the latest terrorist attack that killed a police officer and seriously wounded two others as well as a German tourist in the heart of the French capital Thursday evening.

National police spokesman Jerome Bonet said there were thousands of people on Paris' famous boulevard when the gunman opened fire and the rapid response of officers who shot and killed him avoided possible "carnage".

While in detention, Cheurfi had also shot and wounded a prison officer after seizing his gun. "To say "No" to terrorists", the media outlet quoted Jugele as saying.

Experts say if Le Pen makes it to the second round, most supporters of the ousted candidates would rally around her opponent.

French police are looking for a second suspect who has been allegedly involved in the Paris shooting following Belgian security services' warrant, authorities said on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump predicted on Twitter Friday the attack would have an impact on France's presidential election on Sunday.

The attack appeared to fit in a spreading pattern of French extremists targeting security forces and symbols of the state, to discredit, take vengeance and destabilize.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Once again the police family is in mourning and it serves to underline how fearless officers are putting their life on the line day in and day out to protect the public".

Others, fearful that Le Pen has been strengthened by the instability, said they would shift their votes from fringe candidates to make sure to keep the far-right out of power.

Winner: Will far right politicians like Marine Le Pen rise in popularity after the attacks in France? The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which hit just three days before a tense presidential election.

Trump was referring to the French presidential election scheduled for April 23, now led by Nationalist Marine Le Pen and the pro-European Union Socialist Emmanuel Macron.

The Champs Elysees, busy with tourists and locals on a pleasant spring evening, became a scene of panic.

With two anti-globalisation candidates whose policies could break up the European Union among the four front-runners, the vote is of major significance to the worldwide political status quo and to investment markets.

"Perhaps the individuals in question had some kind of coordination and were in contact with them", he said, referring to the Islamic State, "but we should also not rule out the possibility that Amaq was too hasty in releasing its statements".

France's interior ministry said the suspect had walked in to a police station in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Paris-based public prosecutor's office carried out the relevant investigations, registering the house of the assailant, holder of the registration document found in the vehicle used in the attack, according to the newspaper El Mundo.

  • Leroy Wright