Police seek possible accomplices of Paris gunman
- Author: Leroy Wright May 06, 2017,
May 06, 2017, 23:26
At 21:00 GMT on Thursday night a man pulled his vehicle alongside a bus transporting French police on the heavily-transited Champs-Elysees in Paris, opening fire with an automatic weapon and killing one of the officers.
According to local media reports, the mayor of Paris, as well as mayors of smaller French towns have announced they intend to hire private security guards to be stationed outside the polling stations.
The Paris prosecutor's office leading the investigation has said a pump-action shotgun and knives were found in the gunman's vehicle.
Sky's Mark White said: "Two men were arrested a few days ago with an arsenal of weapons".
But Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told public broadcaster VRT that even though investigations were continuing, officials had confirmed he was a French national.
He had been convicted in 2005 of three counts of attempted murder, with two of these against police officers, sources said.
The suspect's name was not publicly released.
The Champs Elysees attack was claimed by militant group Islamic State. 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.
Security has been high in France leading up to the first round of hotly contested presidential elections Sunday. Candidates canceled or rescheduled final campaign events ahead of Sunday's first round vote.
French President Francois Hollande said he was convinced the shootings were a terrorist act.
A statement by IS's propaganda agency Amaq said the attacker was one of its "fighters", identifying him as "Abu Yussef the Belgian".
"Investigators discovered that he had searched on his computer for a trip to Paris on the Thalys train", the spokesman said.
President Trump expanded upon his earlier tweet about how the terror attack in Paris--the attack that resulted in the death of one police officer--would have a "big effect" on the upcoming French presidential election.
Paris has been in a state of emergency since the November 13, 2015 terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 130 people. Some think it might help the far right candidate, Marine Le Pen, who has taken a hard line on immigration issues.
Leading right wing presidential candidate Marine LePen used the shooting to ramp up her already harsh rhetoric, declaring a so-called battle plan to close France's borders and crack down on what she called lenient sentences for risky criminals.