Published: Thu, December 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

France hunts gunman who cried 'Allahu akbar' in Christmas market attack

France hunts gunman who cried 'Allahu akbar' in Christmas market attack

THERE are reports of two people injured after a shooting at a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg.

One of the people killed in the Strasbourg terrorist attack has been named as a Thai tourist who was travelling with his wife.

Strasbourg, on France's eastern border, is home to the European Parliament, one of several places that was locked down after the shooting.

They will discuss the progress of the investigation and other security measures as the government raised the alert level nationwide and sent police reinforcements to Strasbourg in a manhunt for the suspect.

"I express all my sorrow for the victims", he said.

Senior Interior Ministry official Laurent Nunez said the suspect had been radicalized in prison and had been monitored by French intelligence services since his release in late 2015, because of his suspected religious extremism.

But Chekatt wasn't home on Tuesday morning when the police arrived at the fifth- floor flat overlooking a pair of smokestacks and flat-topped houses in the distance.

A terror investigation has been opened.

"President Emmanuel Macron, who attended a Interdepartmental Crisis Centre meeting, left without speaking to reporters but later tweeted the "solidarity of the entire nation" is with Strasbourg, the victims and their families".

Journalists reported seeing several people wounded after hearing sounds similar to gunfire, while photographs and videos posted on social media appeared to show people receiving medical care. Strasbourg's well-known market is set up around the city's cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

German authorities were on the lookout for the fugitive on Wednesday "along the Rhine" river which serves as the border between France and Germany, a spokesman from the Baden-Wuerttemberg region said.

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In 2016, more than 80 people were killed in Nice when a self-proclaimed supporter of ISIS drove a truck through a Bastille Day crowd.

Later on Wednesday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said that Germany has no information indicating that a man suspected of killing three people in an attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg has an Islamist background.

The attack comes almost two years after Berlin's Christmas market was the site of a truck attack, which killed 12 people and left more injured.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the shooter had evaded a police dragnet and was on the run, raising concerns of a follow-up attack.

Following the shooting, Cherif C fled the scene before he was eventually apprehended by police.

"I heard shooting and then there was pandemonium", one witness, who gave his name as Fatih, told AFP.

Two people were killed and another is brain dead while 12 more were wounded. I got close to the window.

"Then I continued walking on Rue du Dome when I saw the army with a group of 10-12 soldiers walking towards me with their guns pointed to the street and around them everyone was running from all directions".

France has been hit in recent years with high-profile extremist attacks, including the co-ordinated attacks at multiple Paris locations that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds in November 2015.

"I heard like 2 or 3 gunshots at first, which I thought were just firecrackers", Maurice said.

The assailant got inside a security zone around the venue and opened fire from there, Mayor Roland Ries said on BFM television.

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