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France shooting: 4 dead, 11 wounded in Strasbourg


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Here we go again....




France shooting: 4 dead, 11 wounded in Strasbourg

Sylvie Corbet, Lori Hinnant and Elaine Ganley, The Associated Press 
Published Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:53PM EST 
Last Updated Tuesday, December 11, 2018 7:03PM EST

PARIS -- A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed four people and wounded 11 others near a world-famous Christmas market Tuesday, sparking a broad lockdown and a search for the suspected gunman, who remained at large.

French prosecutors said a terrorism investigation was opened, though authorities did not announce a motive for the bloodshed. The city is home to the European Parliament, which was locked down after the shooting.

It was unclear if the market -- which was the nucleus of an al-Qaida-linked plot in 2000 -- was targeted. The prefect of the Strasbourg region said the suspect was previously flagged as a possible extremist.


The gunman has been identified and has a criminal record, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

The death toll, first reported as one, rose to four by late Tuesday, according to two police union officials. One official, Stephane Morisse of union FGP, told The Associated Press the alleged shooter was wounded by soldiers guarding the market.

Gendarmes went to the suspect's home to arrest him earlier Tuesday, before the attack, but he wasn't there, Morisse said. They found explosive materials, he said.

French military spokesman Col. Patrik Steiger said the shooter did not aim for the soldiers patrolling in and around the Christmas market, but targeted civilians instead.

Several of the people wounded were in critical condition, the interior minister said.

Witnesses described to the AP hearing gunshots, screams and the shouts of police officers ordering people to stay indoors before the area fell silent and the officers fanned out.

"I heard two or three shots at around 7:55 p.m. (1855 GMT), then I heard screams. I got close to the window. I saw people running. After that I closed the shutters. Then I heard more shots, closer this time," Yoann Bazard, 27, who lives in central Strasbourg.

"I thought maybe it's firecrackers," he said, speaking by phone. "And then, as it got close, it was really shocking. There were a lot of screams. ... There were police or soldiers shouting 'Get inside!' and 'Put your hands on your head."'

Freelance journalist Camille Belsoeur was at a friend's apartment when they heard the gunfire, at first mistaking it for firecrackers.

"We opened the window. I saw a soldier firing shots, about 12 to 15 shots," Belsoeur said,

Other soldiers yelled for people to stay indoors and shouted 'Go home! Go home!'" to those outside, he said. .

Another witness, Peter Fritz, told the BBC one of the four people killed was a Thai tourist who was shot in the head and didn't respond to lengthy attempts to revive him.

"We tried our best to resuscitate him. We applied CPR. We dragged him into a restaurant close by," Fritz said.

He said it took more than 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, during which time an emergency doctor advised by telephone "that any further efforts would be futile."

The victim "is still here in this restaurant but we have abandoned all hope for him," Fritz said.

France previously endured several high-profile extremist attacks, including the co-ordinated attacks at multiple Paris locations that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds in November 2015. A 2016 truck attack in Nice killed dozens.

President Emmanuel Macron adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace Tuesday night to monitor the emergency, his office said, indicating the gravity of the attack.

Castaner and the Paris prosecutor, who is in charge of anti-terror probes in France, headed to Strasbourg. The prosecutor's office said the investigation was being conducted on suspicion of murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise charges, suggesting officials think the alleged shooter may have links to extremists.

In multiple neighbourhoods of Strasbourg, the French Interior Ministry urged the public to remain indoors. Local authorities tweeted for the public to "avoid the area of the police station," which is close to the city's Christmas market.

Strasbourg's well-known market is set up around the city's cathedral during the Christmas season and is a popular gathering place.

French soldiers were on patrol after the shooting. At the scene, police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounded the sparkling lights of the market.

"Our security and rescue services are mobilized," Castaner said.

European Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch said that "the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice." It wasn't immediately clear how many people were inside.

The attack revived memories of a new millennium terror plot targeting Strasbourg's Christmas market. Ten suspected Islamic militants were convicted and sentenced to prison in December 2004 for their role in a plot to blow up the market on the New Year's Eve ushering in 2000..

The Algerian and French-Algerian suspects -- including an alleged associate of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden -- went on trial in October on charges they were involved in the foiled plot for the attack.

They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to nine years.

John Leicester and Angela Charlton contributed.



Canadians in #France: a shooting occurred in #Strasbourg. Remain highly vigilant and follow the advice of local authorities. http://ow.ly/Txs330mWZi8 

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Edited by prix57
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1 hour ago, Russ said:

I will never understand why people want to go out and kill each other.  Blows my mind....

not really, alot of crazy's out there ...unfortunately its what makes us human, sucks when it happens, but really its what it is......and someone can look/seem normal and than the next second turn into a crazed killer :( hopefully our future have a better life than what some have experienced thus far

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12 hours ago, CBH1926 said:

Probably someone that was known to the police, and was on some sort of watch list.

You're correct.


Strasbourg shooting: gunman was listed as potential terror threat

Witnesses said the man shouted “Allah Akbar” as he shot into the crowds and slashed at passersby with a knife.



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Looks like he was born and raised in France.  Long known criminal.  Potentially radicalized in prison


French authorities detained five people as they hunted Wednesday for a suspected extremist who sprayed gunfire at one of Europe's most famous Christmas markets in the eastern city of Strasbourg.

The government raised the security alert level and sent police reinforcements to Strasbourg, where some 350 security forces are searching for the assailant, while French President Emmanuel Macron was holding an emergency security meeting at the presidential palace in Paris with top officials, including the prime minister, interior, defence and foreign affairs ministers.

Police have identified the suspect as Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29. Police say he was wounded in a gunfight with soldiers after the Tuesday night attack but escaped, and a top official said he might have gone to neighbouring Germany.

Prosecutor Remy Heitz said the suspected gunman was shot in the arm during the exchange of fire and then took a taxi to another part of the city during the rampage.

Heitz said the man was armed with a handgun and a knife, using them to attack his victims. He also left 12 people injured.

Originally, French authorities had said the gunman killed three people. But Heitz said two people were confirmed dead while the third was brain dead.

Police officers check cars as a result of the investigation in Lauterbourg, France, at the border crossing the country shares with the German city of Woerth. (Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Senior Interior Ministry official Laurent Nunez said the suspect had been radicalized in prison and had been monitored by French intelligence services since his release from jail in late 2015, because of his suspected religious extremism.

Nunez said on France-Inter radio that police sought to arrest the man on Tuesday morning, hours before the shooting, in relation to an attempted murder. He was not at home but five other people were detained, authorities said.

Heitz said police found a grenade, a rifle and four knives during the search.

A spokesperson for Germany's BKA criminal police said Wednesday the suspect had been imprisoned in Germany in 2016 and 2017 on theft charges, and was deported to France in 2017.


The attack is a new blow to France, after a wave of Islamic extremist killings in 2015 and 2016, and amid a month of protests against President Emmanuel Macron that have blocked roads around the country, led to rioting in the capital and put heavy strain on police.

Witnesses described shots and screams after the gunman opened fire at the Christmas market Tuesday evening in a city that's home to the European Parliament and considers itself a capital of Europe — and promotes itself as the "capital of Christmas." For several hours swaths of the city were under lockdown.

Security zone

While authorities urged people in the area to stay inside after Tuesday's attack, Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries told BFM television Wednesday that "life must go on" so that the city doesn't cede to a "terrorist who is trying to disrupt our way of life."

The assailant got inside a security zone around the venue and opened fire from there, Mayor Roland Ries said on BFM television.

A placard reads 'Tribute to the victims. I am Strasbourg,' in Strasbourg on Wednesday. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)

"I heard two or three shots at around 7:55 p.m., then I heard screams. I got close to the window. I saw people running. After that I closed the shutters. Then I heard more shots, closer this time," said Yoann Bazard, 27, who lives in central Strasbourg.

"I thought maybe it's firecrackers," he said, speaking by phone. "And then, as it got close, it was really shocking. There were a lot of screams. ... There were police or soldiers shouting 'Get inside!' and 'Put your hands on your head."'

In Germany, interior ministry spokesperson Eleonore Petermann said there's no reason to stay away from Christmas markets there. A Christmas market in Berlin was targeted in a deadly attack two years ago.

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