A gunman opened fire on French police Thursday on Paris’s Champs-Elysee. One officer was killed and two others were wounded. The gunman was fatally shot by police. The attacker had clearly targeted the police.
The Islamic State, ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the attack. ISIS identified the attacker as a Belgian national who used the pseudonym of Abu Yusuf al-Baljiki. A European security official has told the Washington Post that the attacker was known to French intelligence, having come to their attention for his links to radical Islamist organizations. The police have issued a warrant for a second suspect, who is said to have traveled to France from Belgium with the attacker.
The effect of Sunday’s first round vote is impossible to predict but two of the four leading candidates for president have run on a platform of severely limiting immigration and taking steps to strengthen security in France. Extreme rightwing candidates Marine Le Pen, who has called for a complete ban on all immigration (the ban on legal immigration would be temporary, she has said) used the attack to reiterate her call to step up the attack on Islamic terrorists. Le Pen, who advocates pulling France out of the European Union, the euro, and NATO, was No. 2 in the polls before the attack. The leader in the polls, independent Emmanuel Macron, argued “We must not yield to fear today. This is what our assailants are waiting for, and it’s their trap.”
One candidate for president, François Fillon, has already called for postponing the election.
Thursday’s shooting comes just two days after authorities arrested two men in the southern city of Marseille on suspicion of plotting an assault. Police discovered an Islamic State flag and three kilograms of explosives in one suspect’s home.France has been hit by a wave of terrorist violence in the last two years that killed at least 230 people.The effect of Sunday’s first round vote is impossible to predict but two of the four leading candidates for president have run on a platform of severely limiting immigration and taking steps to strengthen security in France.