Policeman shot dead in apparent Islamic State terror attack in Paris
Locked down: there is a heavy police presence in central Paris after an Islamic State-inspired terror attack saw one policeman shot dead and others injuredCredit: abaca
Locked down: there is a heavy police presence in central Paris after an Islamic State-inspired terror attack saw one policeman shot dead and others injured
THE Islamic State group (IS) has claimed responsibility for an attack on police officers in central Paris on Thursday which left one policeman dead and two others wounded.
The attacker, who was shot dead by other security forces, has been identified by the French authorities but his name has not yet been released.
Late on Thursday evening, the man pulled up in his car on the Champs Elysees and opened fire with an assault rifle on a police van. He then ran down the busy shopping street shooting at other police officers before he was killed when they returned fire.
Tourists and Parisians fled in panic. The Episcopalian Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd Pierre Whalon, said that his daughter was nearby as the terror attack unfolded.
“Daughter Marie-Noëlle was on the Champs Elysees and heard the shots fired. Home now thank God. Relieved...” he said on Twitter.
Earlier, while it was still unclear what had happened during the shooting, Bishop Whalon had tweeted: “Praying for the #ChampsElysees attack esp. for the officers killed and wounded. Waiting to learn what happened to killer(s). Kyrie eleison.”
IS’s news agency Amaq has released a statement claiming the man was a militant affiliated to them. French media has reported that the attacker was a French-born citizen who lived in the suburbs of Paris.
The AFP news agency has reported that one tourist was slightly injured during the shooting by a bullet fragment.
The police have locked down the Champs Elysees, and have also ramped up security ahead of the first round of France’s presidential election, which takes place on Sunday.
Closer to home, a number of bishops have added their names to an open letter from faith leaders calling for unity following terrorist atrocities.
The Bishops of Newcastle and Stepney are among two dozen people to sign the letter, which says: "Recent attacks, such as those in Westminster, St Petersburg, Stockholm and Egypt, are an affront to faith and each one of us condemns them in the strongest possible terms - as barbaric acts of senseless violence.
"Now more than ever faith groups are uniting in the face of those who would wish to sow fear and spread mistrust between the people of this country.
"These attacks seek to divide us, and together we must show them that they will never succeed. Instead of voices being raised in anger, we will continue to be calm and resolute."