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Police had Paris attacker in their grasp, officials say
Paris officers shot, 1 fatally, in Champs-Elysees attack
21 April 2017, 02:24 | Darnell Patrick
Police seal off the Champs Elysees avenue
At least a French police officer has been shot dead and two others have been injured in Paris in a terrorist attack claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.
The attacker, who was not identified, was killed by officers returning fire after he aimed at police and fired multiple shots before 9:30 p.m. local time, The Guardian reported.
Pierre-Henry Brandet, the spokesman for the ministry of the interior said that just before 9pm "a vehicle stopped alongside a police van where policemen were stationed inside and outside".
Witnesses reported a helicopter flying low over central Paris, apparently part of a follow-up police operation.
The incident came just two days after police arrested two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first round of the election in three days. Paris has been hit with several terrorist attacks in recent years, and police told the Guardian that this latest shooting is "very probably" a terrorist act.
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen took to Twitter to offer her sympathy for law enforcement officers "once again targeted".
The Champs-Elysees is a long avenue where the Arc de Triomphe is located, and is known for its high end shops, restaurants and theaters.
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The shooting comes three days before French general elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert.
Paris resident Daoud Kal, 29, said he was walking in the area near a metro station when he heard four to five shots.
After the loud bangs, she says: 'A sudden noise where we were was mistaken for gunfire and had police shouting us off the street.
President Francois Hollande has called an emergency meeting on Thursday evening. "Authorities are telling people to avoid the area after a shooting". However, the French Interior Ministry says it is too early to give a clear motive for the attack.
The 11 candidates were appearing on a television programme ahead of the first round of voting in the two-part election on Thursday night when the attack on the Champs Elysees boulevard that left one officer dead happened.
US President Donald Trump, speaking at a press conference in Washington, said the incident "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent his condolences to France.
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