Strasbourg shooting suspect, ID'd as extremist, still at large; 5 others arrested

Thursday, 13 Dec, 2018

He was wounded in an exchange of fire with a passing army patrol and is believed to have fled in a taxi, ordering the driver to take him out of the city. France immediately raised its terror alert level.

Officials said Cherif Chekatt has a lengthy criminal record including several serious cases of robbery.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Eleonore Petermann said there's no reason to stay away from Christmas markets in Germany. According to a verdict from a district court in Singen, Germany, the suspected attacker grew up with six siblings in Strasbourg, worked for local authorities after leaving school and had been unemployed since 2011.

Morisse said that after the evening shooting, soldiers guarding the Christmas market shot and wounded the suspect before he escaped.

A fugitive gunman sought by French police over an attack on Christmas shoppers at a market in Strasbourg shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is greatest) during his killing spree, French officials said Wednesday.

They had reportedly planned to be in Paris but the yellow vest protests in the capital caused them to change their itinerary and go to Strasbourg instead.

Three people were killed and another 12 wounded by the shooter, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner later confirmed.

Italian daily La Repubblica reports that he travelled Strasbourg on Sunday to follow the European Parliamentary session.

Reports yesterday from the Associated Press and others indicated that four people had died, but today officials clarified that two people had died and a third individual is brain dead.

Police vehicles move at the centre of the city of Strasbourg following a shooting in eastern France on Tuesday.

It was reported that the Strasbourg-based European Parliament was on lockdown after the shooting, with MEPs, staff and journalists unable to leave the building. He pointed to the fact that terrorist attacks are often carried out by people who are well known to police due to their criminal past or radicalization, but who are still allowed to roam free. He listed violence since 2015 that killed more than 200: at the Charlie Hebdo satiric newspaper, a Kosher store, restaurants, bars and a concert hall in Paris; along the famed seaside promenade in Nice; and even inside a church in a quiet suburb of the northern city of Rouen, among others.

This graphic show the location of Strasbourg, France.

"We see a technological and an intelligence failure", the analyst said, arguing that France has lost some very important instruments in fight against extremism and terrorism over the recent decades.

The city was in mourning, with candles lit at the site of the attack, and the Christmas market was closed at least through Thursday, according to regional prefect Jean-Luc Marx.

President Emmanuel Macron has adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said.

He said the man was armed with a handgun and a knife, using them to attack his victims.

A statement by local French police says the shooter is from the notorious Neuhof neighborhood, a hub of Islamist radicalization and a known "no-go" zone.

The prefect of the Strasbourg region said the man was on a watch list of people who had potentially been radicalized.

Most recently a 20-year-old Chechnya-born man went on a knife rampage in central Paris last May, killing one man and injuring four other people on a Saturday night.