Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Strasbourg attack suspect killed by police, reports say

Strasbourg attack suspect killed by police, reports say

The Thai embassy in Paris has condemned the deadly attack at a crowded Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg, which killed three people including a Thai tourist.

Minister of the interior Christophe Castaner said the the 29-year-old was killed in the Neudorf-Meinau area of the city after a police operation was launched at around 9pm local time on Thursday.

Heitz said the man also traded fire with French military and police officers, but escaped arrest by hijacking a taxi.

A police official had earlier said security forces, including the elite Raid squad, had taken action on a "supposition only" that suspect Chekatt could have been hiding in a building in the neighbourhood where Chekatt was last seen.

Mr Castaner said: "The government has made a decision to move the security level to "Emergency Attack" with stricter controls at the borders, and the implementation of reinforced controls on all the Christmas markets that are taking place in France to avoid the risk of copycat attacks".

Several MEPs were close to the market when the shooting started and have in holed up in hotels, restaurants or the legislature itself as police were looking for the suspect.

The European Parliament was on lockdown as the search for the gunman continued, British Member of the European Parliament Charles Tannock tweeted from inside.

Chekatt had yelled "Allahu Akbar" before opening fire at the Christmas market and police are treating it as a terrorist incident.

Cherif Chekatt had been on the run since the attack on Tuesday evening.

At 9pm a local police unit spotted a man wandering in the street who matched the individual who had been hunted since Tuesday night.

Police said they have identified the shooter, who has not been captured.

More than 700 French security forces had been searching for Chekatt since Tuesday's attack.

French authorities issued instructions for Chekatt to be caught "dead or alive".

A judicial official said that Chekatt's father and two brothers were among four people taken into custody as part of the investigation.

Among the victims in Strasbourg, two were killed outright and another has been declared brain-dead, while 12 more were injured, six critically, Heitz said.

Chekatt was born in Strasbourg, according to CNN affiliate BFM.

In November 2015, some 130 people were killed in Paris in coordinated jihadist attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites.

He has 27 convictions for crimes including robbery spanning France, Germany and Switzerland, and has spent considerable time in prison as a result.

It came amid a month of protests against President Emmanuel Macron that have blocked roads around the country, led to rioting in the capital and put heavy strain on police.

France has been targeted by a series of attacks by Islamist gunmen since 2015, and the Strasbourg market was long considered a target. Five of the wounded were in serious condition, the prefecture of the Strasbourg region said.

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