Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Strasbourg Christmas market shooting: Gunman at large after three killed

Strasbourg Christmas market shooting: Gunman at large after three killed

The person was from the circle of Cherif Chekatt, the main suspect in the attack.

The suspect has also committed petty crime and was known in both France and Germany, Castaner said.

He is believed to be the gunman who left three dead and 13 wounded in an attack that night. The U.S. government, among others, warned citizens in the area to be vigilant. French security forces were trying to catch the suspected Strasbourg gunman dead or alive.

A terrorism investigation has been opened into Tuesday's attack, which put parts of the city on lockdown.

Peter Fritz said after the gunfire near a Christmas market: "We tried our best to resuscitate him".

Antonio Tajani, the president of the parliament, said: "This parliament will not be intimidated by terrorist or criminal attacks". He added that witnesses heard the gunman shout "Allahu akbar" - "God is great" in Arabic - during the attack.

The suspect has been identified and was on a watchlist of suspected extremists, a statement from local security services said.

- His home was subject of a search on Tuesday morning as part of investigations into a robbery. Five of the people wounded were in serious condition, the prefecture of the Strasbourg region said.

The government raised the security alert level and sent police reinforcements to Strasbourg, where some 350 security forces are searching for the assailant.

The anti-terrorist section of the Paris proscutor's office declared the incident to be an act of terrorism and announced an inquiry had been opened into "murder and attempted murder in relation to a criminal enterprise".

Chekatt was born in Strasbourg, according to CNN affiliate BFM.

However, opposition from MEPs was strong, and around 3am individuals began to leave the European Parliament building under a heavily militarised police convoy.

He said several similar police operations have taken place since the attack.

He says the man was in his 30s and his wife appeared to be unharmed but in shock.

"Young men from the apartment block said they knew him as someone who seemed destabilized by his time in prison".

"You can feel a very heavy atmosphere due all these events", said resident Lucille Romance.

French prosecutors told reporters that Chekatt had been convicted of 27 prior offenses in France, Germany, and Switzerland.

Chekatt was suspected of killing three people and wounding 13 near Strasbourg's Christmas market on Tuesday night.

The dead included a Thai tourist, 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn, according to Thai Foreign Ministry and the website of the Khao Sod newspaper.

The other victims have not been named but French media report one is a 52-year-old Strasbourg man who was killed while leaving a restaurant.

The attack is a new blow to France, which saw a wave of Islamic extremist killings in 2015 and 2016.

The mayor of Strasbourg Roland Ries said the Christmas market will be closed on Wednesday and flags will be lowered to half-mast.

The country recently remembered three years since the Paris terror attacks, when attackers killed 130 civilians with assault rifles and explosives around the city.

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