Deadly shooting in French city of Strasbourg

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A gunman opened fire near a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday evening, killing at least three people and injuring 11 others, local officials have said. Earlier media reports said four people had been killed.

Several of those wounded have critical injuries, police said. At least 350 police special forces and troops, along with two helicopters, are still searching for the shooter, who was known to France’s internal security services as a suspected risk. He is said to be wounded.

Prosecutors have opened a terrorism probe into the shooting. The attack is the third deadly incident in France this year to be officially categorized as terrorism.

Speaking with reporters early Wednesday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said France was raising the security threat level and would bolster the protection of Christmas markets and strengthen border controls.

Reporting from the scene earlier, DW Brussels bureau chief Max Hofmann posted a video on Twitter.

Early Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron joined ministers and top security officials at the Interior Ministry for a crisis meeting. “All the nation is in solidarity with Strasbourg, the victims and their families,” he tweeted afterwards.

Attack on ‘symbol of peace’

Shortly after the shooting and with the manhunt underway, authorities put the city center and other major sites, including a sports arena and the European Parliament, in lockdown. Hundreds of MEPs and officials were in the Parliament attending a plenary session when the attack began.

After midnight, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said MPs were able to leave the building at their own risk, as long as they were staying outside the city center. Any MPs headed toward the city center would need to be accompanied by police, he said.

Germany bolsters border controls

Police in the neighboring German state of Baden-Württemberg have reinforced border controls at the crossing into Strasbourg. The suspect has previous convictions in both France and Germany and has served time in prison, according to Interior Minister Castaner.

Strasbourg’s Christmas market is a popular tourist destination, drawing millions of visitors every year. Mayor Roland Ries has said the Christmas market would remain closed on Wednesday.

Multiple terrorist attacks have shaken France in recent years. Since 2015, more than 200 people have been killed in attacks inspired or commissioned by the Islamist terrorist group “Islamic State.”

amp/cmk (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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