Suspected Strasbourg Gunman Shot Dead in ‘Police Operation’

STRASBOURG, FRANCE - DECEMBER 12: Police officers patrol in front of the cathedral near the Christmas market where the day before a man shot 14 people, killing at least three, on December 12, 2018 in Strasbourg, France. Police have identified the man as Cherif Chekatt, a French citizen on a …
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images; Edit: BNN

French police on Thursday shot dead Cherif Chekatt, the suspect in this week’s Strasbourg shooting, which killed three people and wounded 13 near the city center’s popular Christmas market.

France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the 29-year-old suspected gunman was killed in the Neudorf-Meinau quarter of Strasbourg following a “police operation,” which began at 9 p.m. local time.

Earlier Thursday, Security forces, including the elite Raid squad, took action in Neudorf based on “supposition only” that Chekatt could have been hiding in a building nearby two days after the attack.

As Breitbart News reported, Chekatt allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” and sprayed gunfire from a security zone near the Christmas market Tuesday evening. Authorities said he was wounded during an exchange of fire with security forces and a taxi driver dropped him off in Neudorf after he escaped.

Prosecutors opened a terror investigation, which included more than 700 officers searching for the suspect, who had a long criminal record and had been flagged for extremism, according to government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.

This week, five people were arrested and have remanded in custody in connection with the investigation, including Chekatt’s parents and two of his brothers.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said the fifth, who was arrested Thursday at an undisclosed location, was a member of Chekatt’s “entourage” but not a family member.

Police distributed a photo of Chekatt, with the warning: “Individual dangerous, above all do not intervene.”

France has raised its three-stage threat index to the highest level since the attack and deployed 1,800 additional soldiers across the country to help patrol streets and secure crowded events.

In the wake of the attack, Griveaux called on protesters who have become known as the “yellow vests” and who have been demonstrating across France since last month not to take to the streets again this weekend.

French authorities said Chekatt, born in Strasbourg, appeared on a watch list of people flagged for extremist views. They said he had 27 criminal convictions, receiving the first at age 13.

The people who died in the attack included a Thai tourist, 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry. Five of the wounded were in serious condition, the prefecture of the Strasbourg region said.

French President Emmanuel Macron was in Brussels on Thursday for a European Union summit. EU leaders held a minute of silence for the latest victims of a mass shooting in France.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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