French police kill Strasbourg shooting suspect

Strasbourg

Police officers gather near the body of a man after a shootout with police. Image AP

He has 27 convictions for crimes including robbery spanning France, Germany and Switzerland, and has spent considerable time in prison as a result. The official could not be named because the operation was ongoing, the AP said. Strasbourg is on the border with Germany, where the suspect was convicted in 2016 of breaking into a dental practice and a pharmacy in two towns. His parents and two brothers are already in custody. He said the suspect, whom media identify as Cherif Chekatt, had cried "Allahu Akbar" as he was shooting and also wielding a knife.

Police and soldiers exchanged fire with Chekatt, who was wounded but managed to escape.

Prosecutors have launched a terrorism investigation into the shooting, but authorities have not yet confirmed a motive. For several hours swaths of the city were under lockdown.

The people who died in the attack included a Thai tourist, 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry.

One Italian was reported to be among the wounded.

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The European Parliament is planning a minute of silence at noon to remember the victims of the Strasbourg shooting, which happened only a few kilometers (miles) from the legislature.

Chekatt's attack on Tuesday left three people dead and 13 others injured, including five critically. The government raised the security level after the attack.

The Strasbourg Christmas market is due to reopen on Friday.

He was also one of 25,000 people on the "S file" security risk - reserved for people suspected of extremism - and had been monitored since 2015. "Security was stepped up at Christmas markets across Europe two years ago when a stolen lorry was driven into pedestrians in Berlin, killing 11 pedestrians and injuring 56". "It's this celebration that was hit yesterday by a terrorist act", he said.

The market was to remain closed Thursday, city officials said.

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French President Emmanuel Macron expressed "the solidarity of the whole country" towards the victims as he arrived for a European summit in Brussels on Thursday.

While some of the movement's representatives have said they are open to halting the protests to negotiate with the government, others have said its concessions are not enough, and have vowed to protest again in Paris this weekend.

The man was flagged by French security forces in 2015 as a possible extremist while in prison, after he "called for practising a radical form of religion", deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez told France Inter radio Wednesday.

The police operation took place in the Strasbourg neighbourhood where Chekatt was last seen.

Chekatt was jailed for burglary in Germany in 2016 but was not deemed a potentially risky militant, German authorities said Wednesday. "Bravo!" some shouted as people gathered at the police cordon, a source said.

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According to a local police official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, the man who opened fire was armed with a pistol and a knife.

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