One officer killed in Paris shooting, attacker neutralized

A French soldier stands guard on the Champs Elysées in Paris after the shooting | Thomas Samson  AFP via Getty Images

A police officer and a shooter were killed on Paris's iconic Avenue des Champs Elysees at 9.30 PM on Thursday.

The attack happened just three days before the first round of balloting in France's tense presidential election.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said it was too early to say what the motive of the attack was, but that it was clear the police officers had been deliberately targeted.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted a message on Twitter late Thursday saying "Canada stands with France, as we always will, against terror". The television channel interrupted broadcast of the event to cover the attack, etching security issues into voters' minds.

On Feb. 3, a man with a knife attacked a group of soldiers guarding the Louvre in Paris.

At a news conference in Washington with visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni Silveri, he said: "It looks like another terrorist attack".

Police shot and killed the attacker, who was apparently known to authorities and had been flagged as an extremist.

One leading presidential candidate, National Front's Marine Le Pen, is campaigning against mass Muslim migration and has been repeatedly warning of a terror attack.

Because of its worldwide renown and its large number of visitors, the Champs Elysees has always been seen as a potential target, the BBC's Hugh Schofield reports from the French capital.

Ambulances and police vans were seen parked in the middle of the Champs-Elysées near the Arc de Triomphe, with their blue lights flashing, and forensics officers were also at the scene.

France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead.

The gunman was also killed, but it is possible at least one accomplice may have escaped. The group also claimed responsibility for a auto attack in London last month killing four, but gave no name or details.

"We don't have a precise idea of the origin of the shots fired", he said.

French police warned the public to stay away from the area and armed officers were at the scene.

The police officials were not authorized to be publicly named discussing the ongoing investigation. "Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker", Brandet said.

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

Karim was born in France and lived in Chelles, a commuter town close to Paris and was jailed for the 2001 attack - but is believed to have been released early in 2016.

Shortly after the shooting, French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon called for campaigning activities to be suspended.

French President Francois Hollande said he was convinced the attack was an act of terrorism, and Islamic State quickly claimed the gunman was one of their own.

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