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Paris terror attack will affect French elections
22 April 2017, 01:11 | Terri Saunders
A soldier stands guard near the Arc of Thriomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker, Thursday, April 20, 2017.
Police investigating Thursday's attack found a note praising IS that apparently fell from the pocket of French assailant Karim Cheurfi, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said.
The French president, François Hollande, said the Champs Élysées attack was "terrorist in nature" and promised "utmost vigilance" by security services to ensure security around the presidential election. French police arrested three relatives of Cheurfi. A second suspect in the attack, which also injured three people, has handed himself over to Belgian police after they alerted the French authorities of his possible involvement. Cheurfi, 39, was shot and killed by officers at the scene.
French media are reporting that two police officers were shot Thursday on the famed shopping boulevard.
Born on New Year's Eve in 1977 at the Livry-Gargan suburb of north-eastern Paris, Cheurfi was jailed four times between 2007 and 2014, for attempted murder, violence and theft.
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve accused Le Pen of attempting to use the police killing for political gain, saying she was "seeking, as she does after every tragedy, to take advantage of it".
"Nothing must hamper this democratic moment, essential for our country", said Mr Cazeneuve. "It never ends", the President said. Fillon called for greater cooperation with Russian Federation and Iran and Melenchon warned that France must not give in to violence.
Another frontrunner, Emmanuel Macron, stressed that France must not panic, because that would play into the terrorists' hands. "I am ready", he said.
But a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor, Agnes Thibault Lecuivre, said he was not on the official "Fiche S" surveillance list, which tracks individuals suspected of being radicalized. It was immediately blocked by armed officers after the attack and nearby metro stations were closed.
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Trump tweeted hours after a gunman shot dead a policeman and wounded two others on the world-famous Champs Elysees boulevard. One officer was killed and two seriously wounded.
Authorities found a pump-action shotgun and multiple knives in the 39-year-old's vehicle. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility in a statement.
But Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon countered to public broadcasting channel VRT that ISIS used an incorrect identity for the man - Abu Yousif al-Belgiki, Arabic for "the Belgian".
Getting out, he opened fire at the driver's window, killing a police officer inside. "As soon as the policeman opened the door of the van, he fell".
The Champs-Elysees is a main road lined with restaurants, cafes, exclusive designer boutiques and tourist shops.
The gunman, who was shot dead by police, had a long criminal record, a source close to the investigation told CNN.
President Donald Trump is taking the unusual step of weighing in publicly ahead of a foreign presidential election, predicting that the latest attack in Paris will have a "big effect" on voters there.
Many commentators have already remarked that the proximity of the attack to Sunday's presidential election in France will likely influence the vote, with some remarking it could boost support for law and order and pro-border candidates. "Will have a big effect on presidential election!" he tweeted.
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Under French election rules, Friday was due to be the final day of campaigning before Sunday's first round of voting. This attack will devastate Paris and it is one more unpredictable element in an already unpredictable campaign.
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