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21 April 2017, 05:00 | Erica Roy
Reuters Police secure the Champs-Elysées in Paris after a shooting Thursday
The incident began just before 9 PM local time Thursday on the Champs-Élysées in central Paris, near the Arc de Triomphe, when a gunman jumped out of a auto that had pulled up to a police vehicle, then opened fire, killing a police officer and wounding at least two others. Two police officers told AP the attacker had been flagged as an extremist, but offered no further details.
The Islamic State group claimed the shooting, days before French presidential elections, via its Amaq news agency, naming the attacker as Abu Yousif the Belgian.
France has lived under a state of emergency declared following a terrorist attack in November 2015 that left 130 dead.
Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron appealed to French voters to keep a cool head.
Investigators searched a home early Friday in an eastern suburb of Paris believed linked to the attack.
CNN reported on its website just after 2:30 PM PT that the sole shooter was "known to French security services for radical Islamist activities", and that the immediate "danger is likely over". Video showed the normally busy avenue, one of the most famous streets in the world, empty of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers at 9:30 p.m.
French TV channel BFM broadcast footage of the Arc de Triomphe monument and top half of the Champs-Elysees packed with police vans, lights flashing and heavily armed police shutting the area down after what was described by one journalist as a major exchange of fire nears a Marks and Spencers store.
A police union Twitter account said the officers were shot while in a vehicle stopped at a red light.
Hollande said a bystander was also struck by a bullet in the incident.
On Thursday, speaking after a television appearance, she said she was "deeply angry" as well as sad for the police victims "because not everything is done ... to protect our compatriots". Two officials said the gunman used an assault rifle.
The ministry said the person fired on a police vehicle.
Police officers secure the area after a gunman opened fire on Champs Elysees on Thu., April 20, 2017 in Paris, France. Police said they had been planning an attack ahead of the election.
The two top contenders will advance to a runoff on May 7.
The Champs-Elysées has been closed and authorities are telling people to avoid the area.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press the gunman targeted police who were guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt metro station. "Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".
A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM she heard gunshots and saw a man's body on the ground before police quickly evacuated the area. Security is high around the vote after France has been attacked in recent years.
French presidential election candidates Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon cancelled campaign events scheduled for Friday, on what will be the last day of campaigning for candidates before the first round of voting in the presidential election.
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