France on high alert after gunman kills three people in Strasbourg Christmas market

WION Web Team
Strasbourg, FranceUpdated: Dec 12, 2018, 11:09 AM IST


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No organization has claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

The French government today raised the security threat level after three people were killed in the Strasbourg Christmas market shooting on Monday night.

"The government just decided to switch to a state of emergency attack with the set up of reinforced controls in border crossings, with also reinforced controls in all of the Christmas markets around France," interior minister Christophe Castaner said.

Earlier in the morning, French President Emmanuel Macron held a meeting at the interior ministry just hours after the shooting incident at Strasbourg. France has been on high alert since the terror strike in 2015. The French police have launched a manhunt to apprehend the alleged shooter.

The attack started at around 8pm local time (1900 GMT) in the Christmas market as stall owners were set to close.

French police identified Strasbourg-born Chekatt Cherif, 29, as the alleged suspect behind the attack. It was still not clear if authorities had got hold of him. Several areas neighbouring the Christmas market were sealed off and people were told to stay indoors.

The Strasbourg-based European Parliament has been shut down including shops and business establishments around the area with heavy police patrol and anti-terror operations underway in the city.

No organization has claimed responsibility for the latest attack. However, Reuters reported that US-based Site intelligence group, which monitors jihadist websites, said Islamic State supporters were celebrating. 

France has been hit by a series of terror attacks in recent years since the terrorists gunned down 130 people in Paris on November 13, 2015. 

In January 2015, terrorists had struck the Charlie Hebdo office killing several employees including the editor Stephane Charbonnier in a reign of terror which lasted three days after which anti-terror officers killed the two suspects in a shootout in an area outside Paris. 

Last year, a man killed one person in a knife attack in central Paris and injured several people.