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France: One policeman killed, two wounded in Paris shooting

French soldiers stand guard at the Arc de Triomphe near the Champs ?lys?es in Paris after a shooting on April 20, 2017. Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Paris, France Apr 20, 2017, 08.09 PM (IST)

One police officer was killed and two wounded Thursday in a shooting on Paris's Champs Élysées, police said, just days ahead of France's presidential election.

France's interior ministry said the attacker was killed in the incident in the early evening on the world-famous boulevard. 

French President Francois Hollande said that a shooting on the Champs Élyséeson Thursday evening was suspected to be "of a terrorist nature".

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting in Paris of a police officer on Thursday, in a statement by the jihadists' propaganda agency Amaq.

"The perpetrator of the attack in Champs Élysées in central Paris is Abu Yussef the Belgian and he is one of the Islamic State's fighters," it said.

The famous shopping street in the heart of the city, which is usually teeming with tourists and Parisians, was blocked by armed police and metro stations in the area were closed.

Dozens of vehicles from the emergency services were sent to the area.

The shooting comes just two days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first-round of the presidential election on Sunday.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.

Thousands of troops and armed police have been deployed to guard tourist hotspots such as the Champs Élysées or other potential targets like government buildings and religious sites.

Up until now, polls showed voters more concerned about unemployment and their spending power than terrorism or security, though analysts warned this would change in the event of further bloodshed.

For weeks, centrist former banker Macron and National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen have been out in front but opinion polls now show there is a chance that any of the four leading candidates could reach the second-round runoff on May 7.

Scandal-plagued conservative Francois Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.


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