Category: world
Updated: 21/04/17 : 05:52:16

World :: Paris terrorist was on Islamist radical 'watch list'

Forensic officers examine the shooter's car on the Champs-Elysees
The terrorist  gunman who shot dead a policeman in Paris on Thursday has been identified from papers left in his car, but French officials are yet to release his name.

Local media say the 39-year-old lived in the city's suburbs, and had been seen as a potential Islamist radical.

The gunman also wounded two police officers before he was killed by security forces on the Champs-Elysees.

President François Hollande is to chair a security cabinet meeting, as France readies for Sunday's presidential poll.

Mr Hollande said he was convinced the attack was "terrorist-related", adding that the security forces had the full support of the nation and a national tribute would be paid to the fallen policeman.

So-called Islamic State (IS) said one of its "fighters" had carried out the attack.

A car pulled up alongside a police bus just before 21:00 (19:00 GMT) and a man got out, opening fire on the bus with an automatic weapon, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

After killing an officer, the man attempted to run away while shooting at other officers, two of whom he injured, the spokesman added.

He was then shot dead by security forces.

The whole of the Champs-Elysees was evacuated as horrified onlookers fled the scene.

Because of its worldwide renown and its large number of visitors, the avenue has long been seen as a potential target.

Overnight, a property in the eastern Parisian suburb of Chelles was searched by investigators, who want to know who else - if anyone - may have known about the gunman's plans.

Paris prosecutor François Molins said shortly after the shootings that "the attacker's identity is known and has been verified".

"I won't reveal it, because investigations and raids are already under way, in particular to establish whether there is any evidence or not of complicity (in this attack)," he said, adding that more information would be released on Friday. (Today)

According to French media, the attacker served several years in prison for firing on police officers with a gun in the early 2000s.

More recently the intelligence services identified him as a potential Islamist radical.

Meanwhile, IS identified the attacker as Abu-Yusuf al-Baljiki, in a statement carried by its Amaq news outlet.