Alwaght- ISIS terrorist group has claimed responsibility for an attack in the French capital, Paris that left one policeman dead, three days before the country's presidential election.
Two other police officers were seriously wounded after the Thursday night shooting near the famous Champs-Elysees boulevard in the French capital.
In a statement from the ISIS’ self-style Amaq news agency, the terrorist group gave a pseudonym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating he was Belgian.
Eyewitnesses told the local media that the assailant got out of a car and opened fire on the officers with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. This information was then partially confirmed by the Interior Minsitry spokesman, Pierre-Henry Brandet, who told journalists that "an automatic weapon was used against police, a weapon of war."
French president François Hollande said in a brief statement a couple of hours later, after holding an emergency meeting at the Elysée Palace, that the attack was “likely terrorist-related.” The section of the prosecutor’s office dedicated to the fight against terrorism opened a formal probe, and ISIS, which has been responsible for a string of terror attacks in France since early 2015, later claimed responsibility.
French prosecutor François Molins said authorities had established the identity of the assailant and that he was known by security services. Molins didn’t release a name, pending ongoing searches to determine the existence of possible accomplices.
The incident comes just days ahead of the first round of the French presidential elections, which is scheduled for April 23.
French presidential candidates have expressed their condolences over the incident.
Francois Fillon, a candidate from the Republicans, paid “homage to the security forces, who give their lives to protect ours.” Fillon has also called for Friday’s planned campaign events to be cancelled following the shooting.
The incident comes just two days after two men were detained in the French southern city of Marseille on suspicion of planning a "violent and imminent attack" ahead of the presidential elections.