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Searches underway in attack on Paris police

/ 07:41 AM April 21, 2017
Police forces take positions on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker, Thursday, April 20, 2017. An attacker with an automatic weapon opened fire on police on Paris' iconic Champs-Elysees Thursday night, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others before police shot and killed him. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Police forces take positions on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker, Thursday, April 20, 2017. An attacker with an automatic weapon opened fire on police on Paris’ iconic Champs-Elysees Thursday night, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others before police shot and killed him. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

PARIS — France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said Friday that searches were under way after an attack on police guarding the Champs-Elysees shopping district in Paris.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said that investigators have verified the identity of the gunman in Thursday night’s attack and were trying to determine whether he had accomplices. The identity was not released.

Three police officials said at least one location in the eastern Paris suburbs was being searched early Friday.

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One police officer and the attacker were killed in the incident.

France’s presidential candidates have expressed their solidarity with police forces following the shootings of three officers in Paris.

The 11 candidates were appearing on a television program ahead of the first round of voting in the two-part election when the attack that left one officer dead happened Thursday night.

Conservative contender Francois Fillon said on France 2 television he was canceling his planned campaign stops on Friday.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen took to Twitter to offer her sympathy for law enforcement officers “once again targeted.”

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron offered his thoughts to the family of the dead officer.

Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his “full support” to police against terrorism.

The first round of the presidential race is scheduled on Sunday. The two top contenders will advance to a runoff on May 7.

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The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the shooting on Paris’ Champs Elysees that killed a police officer and left two others gravely wounded.

In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the group gave a pseudonym for the shooter indicating he was Belgian.

The attacker opened fire on a police van on the avenue before being killed.

The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria.

And the pseudonym, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicated that the attacker already had ties of some sort to Islamic State extremists.

French President Francois Hollande says he is convinced the circumstances surrounding the attack on Paris police officers points to a terrorist act.

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TAGS: attack, news, Paris, Police, Terrorism, world
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