Paris attack suspect Karim Cheurfi's first pictures surface as French politicians debate 'border controls'

Paris attack suspect Karim Cheurfi's first pictures surface as French politicians debate 'border controls'

First pictures of Paris attacker. Photograph: (Agencies)

Agencies Paris, France Apr 21, 2017, 07.23 PM (IST)

French investigators have found a written note defending Islamic State next to the body of the gunman who shot dead a policeman in Paris on Thursday night, a judicial source told Reuters.

The gunman, identified as Karim Cheurfi, opened fire on a police vehicle parked on the Champs Elysees in Paris. 

Cheurfi, a French national who lived in the eastern Paris suburb of Chelles, had been convicted for previous armed assaults on law enforcement officers going back 16 years, the sources said, and was well known to authorities, Reuters reported.

In addition to the assault rifle used in the attack, he had a pump action shotgun and knives in his car, the sources said. Three of his family members have been placed in detention, the French interior ministry announced on Friday.

The hardline militant group ISIS claimed the attack, which also wounded two other police officers.

The attack overshadowed the last day of campaigning for Sunday's presidential election first round, bringing issues surrounding Islamist militancy to the fore.

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen renewed calls to reinstate border controls, adding she will "protect France if she wins Sunday's election".

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve quickly hit back saying Marine Le Pen was looking to exploit the Paris shooting to score "political points" and divide the people.

The attack echoed across the Atlantic with US President Donald Trump wading into France's presidential election, tweeting that he expected the killing of a policeman in central Paris to have an impact on Sunday's vote.

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The race is tight with the four best-performing candidates in the latest polls all in with a chance of making the run-off on May 7 which will decide who wins the presidency.

IFOP pollster Frederic Dabi said the impact was likely to be limited as the French people have become accustomed to living with the threat of attacks, Reuters reported.

(WION with Reuters input)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has declared she will 'protect France if she wins Sunday's election'

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