French Policeman Killed in Paris Attack Claimed by IS

Paris: A known terror suspect gunned down a police officer and wounded two others on Paris's Champs Elysees in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group days before France's presidential election.

President Trump inserted himself into the tumult of French politics today, declaring that the fatal shooting of a police officer in central Paris would have "a big effect" when voters go to the polls on Sunday to choose among 11 presidential candidates.

According to Le Monde, security services detained and interrogated Cheurfi in February, after he made threats online, and investigated him again last month, when he attempted to contact foreign-based jihadists, but failed to gather enough evidence to charge him with any crimes, while acknowledging that he was "excessively risky and violent".

Police have detained for questioning three of his family members, as investigators seek to determine whether he was acting alone and where he got his weapons.

Le Pen, a 48-year-old mother of three, has distanced herself from her father, National Front party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has been convicted of crimes related to anti-Semitism and mocked the Holocaust as a "detail" of history. "Hate preachers must be expelled, the Islamist mosques closed." she added. "We have had terrorist attacks during other election campaigns but never this close to polling day".

French riot police officers patrol on the Champs-Elysees boulevard, with the Arc of Triomphe in background, in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017.

The warning was circulated more widely among French security services in the hour following the Champs Elysees attack. "She's going to capitalize on this and say, 'Look, that's what I've been saying all along, '" Boucek told ABC News.

Several, the far-right Marine Le Pen of the National Front most prominent among them, are so radical in their beliefs that they want to ditch the euro, break up the euro zone and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and put an end to globalisation.

He said the goal of terrorists was to "destabilize" the country.

The auto belonging to an attacker and a police van are pictured on the Champs Elysees.

In a video posted after the attack, Macron said the French people must not give in to fear, division and intimidation.

Many believed an attack in the run-up to the ballot would be a gift to Ms Le Pen, who has campaigned on a strong anti-immigration platform, linking it to security threats.

Should Macron and Le Pen do make it to the second round, the former economy minister was projected to win the runoff - and thus the presidency - with 65 percent against 35 percent for Le Pen, the survey for BFM TV and L'Express magazine showed.

First-round voting is set to begin on Sunday morning - and no opinion polls showing what impact, if any, the shooting had will be published before then.

Fillon also spoke about the latest attack.

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. "The fight for the French people's freedom and security will be mine". He has promised to tax the rich and renegotiate France's role in European Union and worldwide trade agreements. France wants to avoid any repeat of Thursday's violence.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on material from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

"We heard the shots and people were running in every direction".

  • Leroy Wright