Paris was hit with yet another terrorist attack on Thursday evening. The attack on the Champs-Élysées left one police officer dead and two others wounded after a man shot the officers with a Kalashnikov-style rifle. A German woman was also injured. ISIS was quick to take responsibility of the deadly shooting, prompting many to believe this attack was planned by the terror group and not just inspired by them.
An American family was in the area when the attack happened and described the chaotic scene.
Here is the moment that gunfire erupted during the attack.
The main suspect for the attack has been identified as French citizen Karim Cheurfi, who was shot and killed by police. Cheurfi, who went by the names of Abu Yusuf al-Baljiki and Abu Youssef, was already considered by the security services as an “excessively dangerous” individual before the attack.
The 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi had an extensive criminal record including a previous attempt to murder two police officers. In 2001 shot at two police officers and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, but was later reduced to 15 on an appeal. While being taken into custody, Cheurfi shot and wounded an officer after taking his gun.
Cheurfi was arrested in February as part of a counter-terror investigation for reportedly for threatening police officers, but was released the following day by the courts because of insufficient evidence. In March he was investigated for communicating on social media apps his desire to kill police.
Cheurfi had knives and a pump-action shotgun in his car.
Three of his relatives were detained in searches of his family home in Chelles.
A note of supporting the Islamic State written by Cheurfi was found near the dead gunman.
Daesh has instructed their jihadists to leave letters or other proof of their support of ISIS.
“Lest the operation be mistaken for one of the many random acts of violence that plague the West, it is essential to leave some kind of evidence or insignia identifying the motive and allegiance to the caliphate, even if it is something as simple as a note,” said an article calling for knife attacks in October.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its news agency Amaq and hailed Cheurfi as a “fighter of the Islamic State”
French President François Hollande said the attack was of a “terrorist nature.”
A terrorism investigation into the attack had been opened, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
“Faced with this ordeal, I know that the determination of Parisians to defend their way of life and their values is complete,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter.
There is a manhunt for a second suspect in the attack as per Zero Hedge:
A French interior ministry spokesman confirmed on Friday that a manhunt was underway for a second individual, based on information from Belgian security services. “It’s too early to say how or whether he was connected to what happened on the Champs Elysees,” ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said. “There are a certain number of leads to check. We are not ruling anything out.”
A potential second suspect was identified as Youssouf El Osri in a document seen by Reuters. Belgian security officials had warned French counterparts before the attack that El Osri was a “very dangerous individual en route to France” aboard the Thalys high-speed train.
The warning was circulated more widely among French security services in the hour following the Champs Elysees attack.
One of the officers underwent emergency surgery overnight, but officials said both injured officers were now “out of danger.”
The police officer killed by a gunman in Paris has been identified as Xavier Jugelé. The 37-year-old man was one of the hundreds of police officers who responded to the previous ISIS attack in Paris in November 2015. Jugelé was also at the Bataclan a year after the attack that killed 90 for a commemorative event.
“We’re here tonight as witnesses,” Jugelé told People magazine. “Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”
The attack comes only days within France’s presidential election which is on Sunday.
President Donald J. Trump said of the attack, “The people of France will not take much more of this.”
Only days ago, French security authorities arrested two men in the southern city of Marseille for planning an attack during the presidential race.
Sadly, this isn’t the first terror attack France has seen in 2017. A man wielding a machete attack attempted to enter the Louvre Museum in Paris on February 3. The Egyptian national was shot as he rushed a group of French soldiers guarding the entrance to the museum. The terrorist did injure one solider.
On March 18, a French policeman was shot and injured in the Paris suburb of Garges-les-Gonesse by an attacker. The terrorist was later shot dead at Orly Airport near Paris after trying to grab a soldier’s assault rifle.