IS group claims Champs-Elysees attack on police officers

IS group claims Champs-Elysees attack on police officers

A French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris on Thursday night in an attack carried out days before presidential elections and quickly claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said no tourists or pedestrians were injured during the Thursday night attack that left one officer dead and two seriously wounded.

Police officers guarding a metro station in the centre of the Champs Elysees shopping district were gunned down about 9pm Thursday Paris time (5am Friday AEST), when the area was busy with people visiting restaurants and bars.

On the iconic avenue in the heart of Paris, municipal workers in white hygiene suits were out before dawn Friday to wash down the sidewalk where the assault took place - a scene now depressingly familiar after multiple attacks that have killed more than 230 people in France in little over two years.

French President Francois Hollande has scheduled an emergency meeting following shootings of officers.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said the man had been identified, but investigators were still assessing if he had accomplices.

But the 55-year-old says visitors to the French "were running, running.Some were crying".

CNN reported on its website just after 2:30 PM PT that the sole shooter was "known to French security services for radical Islamist activities", and that the immediate "danger is likely over".

The famous wide street that leads away from the Arc de Triomphe that had earlier been crowded with Parisians and tourists enjoying a spring evening remained closed off hours after the incident.

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A police union Twitter account said the officers were shot while in a auto stopped at a red light.

The incident came as French voters prepared go to the polls on Sunday in the most tightly-contested presidential election in living memory. Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist.

Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a auto and opened fire on a police vehicle.

Officers searched the home of the dead attacker in a town east of Paris, a police source said.

The two top contenders will advance to a runoff on May 7. "There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".

French conservative politician Francois Fillon, a candidate in France's presidential election, says campaigning should be suspended following the shooting in Paris.

Candidates in the election said they had been warned about the Marseille attackers. It recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris: one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.

None of the candidates immediately commented.

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