Strasbourg Christmas market attacker killed after gun battle

WION Web Team Strasbourg, France Dec 14, 2018, 06.55 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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French police had launched a massive manhunt to nab the Chekatt with the nation put on high alert

French security forces on Thursday night killed the suspect, Cherif Chekatt, 29, who was allegedly responsible for the attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg in which three people had died.

French interior minister Christophe Castaner said three police tried to question Chekatt after spotting him "wandering" through the streets in the Neudorf area of the northeastern French city when he opened fire, the officer's immediately returned fire leading to the death of the suspect.

"I think it will help to get back to a life that I would describe as normal," Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries said, adding, "with the death of this terrorist ... citizens, like me, are relieved." Chekatt was earlier shot by police after he had carried out the attack at the Christmas market but had managed to escape.

French police had launched a massive manhunt to nab Chekatt with the nation put on high alert ahead of the Christmas celebration.

Chekatt had committed crimes across France, Germany and Switzerland and had at least 27 convictions against him. 

Islamic State claimed that Chekatt was one of its soldiers, who "carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of coalition countries" fighting the militant group, according to a statement on its Amaq news website.

Witnesses had said that the attacker had cried out "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greater) while carrying out the crime at the heart of the Christmas market on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, police said that three people who had fallen victim to the attack were still fighting for their lives.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed "the solidarity of the whole country" towards the victims. "It is not only France that has been hit... but a great European city as well," he added.

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