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Paris attack: Gunman was known for radical Islamist activities

21 April 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump waded into France's presidential election on Friday, tweeting that he expected the killing of a policeman in central Paris to have an impact on Sunday's vote.

Thursday night's attack comes two days after police arrested two French nationals in possession of explosives and weapons in the southern city of Marseille.

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A police arrest warrant issued earlier on Thursday, which was seen by Reuters after the attack, warned of a risky individual who had come into France by train from Belgium on Thursday.

French media said late on Thursday night, citing the Daesh-affiliated Amaq news agency, that the attacker was identified as Abu Yusuf, a Belgian who was a Daesh fighter.

One police officer is dead and another hurt following a shooting in the French capital, police sources say. Investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in his vehicle. Cheurfi's identity was confirmed from his fingerprints.

GETTYThousands of supporters turned out to see Le Pen's last rally before Sunday's vote
GETTYThousands of supporters turned out to see Le Pen's last rally before Sunday's vote

Authorities are trying to determine whether "one or more people" might have helped the attacker, Brandet said.

The main candidates called off rallies on what would have been the final day of campaigning. With polling just two days away, and campaigning banned from Friday at midnight, they would have no time to recover before polls open on Sunday.

The two top finishers in Sunday's election will advance to a run-off on May 7. Both Fillon and National Front leader Marine Le Pen have cancelled scheduled events tomorrow following the attack.

"She won't be able to protect our citizens", Macron said of Le Pen. "This fight for freedom and for the security of the French people must be the priority of the next five-year term".

Early Friday, the Paris prosecutor's office leading the investigation said investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in the gunman's vehicle. Delivery trucks were making their rounds.

IS said the assault was the work of one of its "soldiers". The charges dated back to 2001, when the attacker was fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle.

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Said by polls to be running neck-and-neck with Le Pen, he tore into her claims that previous attacks wouldn't have happened under her watch.

Provided Macron and Le Pen do make it to the second round, the former economy minister was projected to win with 65 percent against 35 percent for Le Pen, the survey for BFM TV and L'Express magazine showed.

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

He then tried to run along the pavement, aiming at other officers and hitting two "very seriously", a French interior ministry spokesman said.

Could the attack influence the elections?

France's government has reviewed its already extensive election security measures and says it is "fully mobilized" in the wake of the Champs-Elysees gun attack on police officers.

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Fillon said that if elected he would focus on the destruction of ISIS.

"That's a bad thing and it's a very, very awful thing that's going on in the world today", he said at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Hollande believes the attack was "terrorist-related".

The attack appeared to fit a spreading pattern of European extremists targeting security forces and symbols of state to discredit, take vengeance or destabilize society.

March 18: A 39-year-old man is killed at Paris's Orly airport after attacking a soldier.

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Paris attack: Gunman was known for radical Islamist activities