Date
22 April 2019
People light candles in tribute to the victims of Tuesday’s deadly shooting in Strasbourg, France. Photo: Reuters
People light candles in tribute to the victims of Tuesday’s deadly shooting in Strasbourg, France. Photo: Reuters

Suspect in Strasbourg attack killed in gun battle with police

The suspected gunman who killed three people at a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg was shot dead on Thursday in a brief gun battle with police after being on the run for 48 hours, Reuters reports.

Cherif Chekatt, 29, was killed in the Neudorf/Meinau area of the city shortly after a big police operation was launched around 2100 hrs (2000 GMT) on Thursday about 2 kilometers from where he launched his attack on Tuesday, the report said, citing police sources.

Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire, a source was quoted as saying.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters later that three police officers came across a man they believed to be Chekatt and went to arrest him.

He turned to fire on them and they shot and killed him, Castaner said.

Reuters reporters near the scene heard three to four gunshots after armed police officers and units launched their operation, backed up by a helicopter circling overhead.

The death toll from Tuesday’s attack rose to three, while three others were fighting for their lives on Thursday, Castaner told a news conference before news broke that Chekatt had been shot dead.

Police issued a wanted poster in multiple languages for Chekatt, who was the main suspect in the attack and who had been on a watchlist as a potential security threat.

He had spent time in French, German and Swiss jails for a theft and violence and authorities say he was known to have developed radical religious views while behind bars.

Islamic State claimed him as one of its soldiers on Thursday, saying he had “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of coalition countries” fighting the militant group, according to a statement on its Amaq news website.

The group provided no evidence for the claim.

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CG/RC

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