Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Suspect under formal investigation for links to Champs-Élysées shooting

May 20, 2017

AFP, Reuters and AP

© Philippe Lopez, AFP | Police patrol on the Champs-Élysées on April 21, the day after the attack.

Latest update : 2017-05-20

A man believed to be an accomplice of the gunman who killed a police officer on the Champs-Élysées in April has been remanded in custody and placed under formal investigation, a judicial source said on Saturday.

The suspect’s DNA was found on the weapon used by the shooter, identified as Karim Cheurfi, who opened fire on a police vehicle on the famous Paris avenue, killing one officer and injuring two others before being shot dead.

The arrested man, who was not named, was not known to anti-terrorist services, the source said.

The suspect told investigators that he did not know 39-year-old Cheurfi, the source added.

The attack took place days before the first round of France’s presidential election. A note praising the Islamic State group was found next to Cheurfi’s body. Police later found other weapons in his car, including a shotgun and knives.

The Islamic State group claimed the attack as the work of one of its “fighters”. However, the IS group named the gunman as “Abu Yussef the Belgian” and not Cheurfi, who was from the eastern Parisian suburbs, raising questions over his links to the jihadists.

The shooting was the latest in a string of attacks that have claimed 239 lives around France since 2015.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

Scores arrested in violent Paris election night protests — “Paris isn’t Paris anymore.” — “Anti-fascist, anti-capitalist” — Anarchists?

April 24, 2017


© AFP | Anti-fascists clashed with police following the announcement of the results of the first round of the Presidential election

PARIS (AFP) – Police said Monday they arrested more than 100 people after election night unrest in Paris, with protesters hurling bottles at security forces, torching cars and smashing shop windows.

Six police officers and three protesters were slightly injured in the violence in central Paris, police said, adding that 143 people were arrested, with 29 held overnight.

Hundreds of youths gathered to protest against far-right leader Marine Le Pen and former banker Emmanuel Macron, who both qualified Sunday for the May 7 run-off in France’s two-stage presidential election.

The “anti-fascist, anti-capitalist” demonstrations were held in several French cities including central Lyon, southwestern Bordeaux and the western cities of Nantes and Rennes.

Questions remain over Champs-Élysées attacker’s links to IS group

April 22, 2017


© PHILIPPE LOPEZ, AFP | People lay flowers at the site of a shooting on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on April 21, 2017, a day after a gunman opened fire on police on the avenue, killing a policeman.

Text by Ségolène ALLEMANDOU

Latest update : 2017-04-22

Two days after an attack on Paris’s Champs-Élysées that left one police officer dead, questions remain about the shooter, his ties to terrorism, and whether he had accomplices.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility about two hours after the attack, which took place on Paris’s Champs-Élysées avenue. A statement published by the terrorist group’s progaganda agency identified the attacker as “Abu Yussef the Belgian”.

However, French authorities on Friday identified the attacker, who was killed in the assault, as Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old French citizen who lived in the suburbs of Paris and was known to French authorities.

The discrepancy in the reports led to speculation about who really carried out the attack. Was there a second attacker? If so, were they on the loose?

No second attacker is known

Rumours had spread on Twitter Thursday night that a Belgian man named Youssouf el Osri, who was wanted by Belgian authorities, had travelled on a Thalys train to Paris. Some Twitter users implied that he was linked to the Champs-Élysées attack. Was this the “Yussef the Belgian” that the IS group later referred to?

El Osri gave himself up at a police station in Antwerp, Belgium, Friday morning. The Belgian public prosecutor said that on Thursday evening el Osri had been in Belgium — not in Paris — and “ruled out” any link between him and the Champs-Élysées attack.

Terror suspect sought in wake of Champs Elysées attack has turned himself to police – AFP.

The Belgian prosecutor offered two theories. Either “there really is an ‘Abu Yussef the Belgian’ – and we are trying to identify who this is – or the IS group took advantage of the fact that the man from Antwerp was already in the news, especially in France, in order to name him when they claimed responsibility for the attack”.

Or did the IS group make a mistake? Their claim of responsibility was unusual for two reasons. Firstly, the Islamist group rarely names attackers, instead referring to them as “soldiers of IS”. Secondly, the speed with which they put out their statement was also unusual. The IS group more typically claims responsibility 12 to 48 hours after an attack.

Radicalised or not?

Did Karim Cheurfi have any other links to radical Islam? Cheurfi comes from Seine-Saint-Denis, to the northeast of Paris, and last lived in Chelles, a suburb 18 kilometres east of Paris.

He spent 14 years in prison on three counts of attempted murder, including of police officers, but “didn’t show any signs of radicalisation or proselytising”, according to Paris Prosecutor François Molins.

Reuters reported Thursday night that Cheurfi was on France’s official Fiche S watch list of those being monitored by security services, but this turned out to be false.

Cheurfi’s neighbours said that he nourished a “hatred” of the police, and that he was “suffering psychologically”. French anti-terrorism researchers knew as early as the beginning of 2016 that Cheurfi was trying to buy weapons, and that he wanted to kill police in revenge for children killed in Syria.

However, Cheurfi’s name did appear on a list of some 15,000 “radicalised” people, kept by France’s domestic intelligence agency (Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure or DGSI).

The note

The other link between Cheurfi and the IS group is a handwritten note praising the terrorist group found next to Cheurfi’s body after he was killed by the police. But the IS group has encouraged would-be attackers to leave such notes to enable the group to claim responsibility.

Three men close to Cheurfi who are currently being held by police for questioning may provide more answers. One of the men met Cheurfi in prison and has an extensive criminal record.

This article was translated from the original in French

Paris attack to have ‘big effect’ on presidential poll: Trump

April 21, 2017


© AFP/File | A French soldier patrols on the Champs Elysees in Paris after a shooting on April 20, 2017
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Friday said a deadly attack in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group “will have a big effect” on France’s upcoming presidential vote.”Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

Trump tweeted hours after a gunman shot dead a policeman and wounded two others on the world-famous Champs Elysees boulevard.

The attack rocked France’s presidential race Friday with just days to go before one of the closest races in recent memory.

Bloodshed had long been feared ahead of Sunday’s first round of voting after a string of jihadist atrocities since 2015, and shooting on the world-renowned boulevard forced security to the top of the agenda in the campaign.

Three of the four frontrunners called off campaign events planned for Friday in the wake of the attack.

France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of alert since a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.


Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces — Spent 15 years in prison for shooting officers — On watch list after recent arrest — Informants last month said he was ‘seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen’

April 21, 2017


Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoor


Paris Police secure the Champs-Elysees after one police officer was killed and another wounded in a shooting in Paris, France, April 20, 2017. REUTERS – Christian Hartmann

French security services are today facing troubling questions as to how they failed to prevent an ISIS gunman from slaughtering one policeman and wounding two other officers when he was already on a terror watch list.

Champs-Elysees killer Karim Cheurfi had been detained only last month, it has emerged, after informants said he was ‘seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen’.

But the 39-year-old, who used the war name ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’, had to be released because anti-terror police did not have enough evidence to hold him.

The homegrown fanatic, who officials confirmed was a French national despite his nickname, had also been released early from prison – where it is thought he was radicalised – having been jailed for 20 years in 2005 for trying to kill two policemen.

Cheurfi opened fire five times with a .38 revolver following a car chase in 2001, leaving the officers and a third victim wounded.

He had fled on foot before the driver of the other car and the passenger – a trainee police officer – caught up with him. He fired twice, seriously wounding both men in the chest. All three survived the attack in Roissy-en-Brie, in the Seine-et-Marne department of northern France.

Cheurfi was arrested and placed in custody under a false name. Two days later he seriously injured an officer who was taking him out of his cell, seizing his weapon and firing several times.

Two French officials said this morning that Cheurfi was detained in February for threatening police before being freed, although a warrant for his arrest is dated March 6.

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The killer was known to security services in France, according to reports this evening

The killer was known to security services in France, according to reports this evening

One police officer was shot dead and two more seriously injured by a gunman carrying a Kalashnikov in Paris this evening

One police officer was shot dead and two more seriously injured by a gunman carrying a Kalashnikov in Paris this evening


Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France's Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the 'targeted attack'

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France’s Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the ‘targeted attack’

The arrest warrant issued for Cheurfi before he was detained at the beginning of last month

The arrest warrant issued for Cheurfi before he was detained at the beginning of last month

The ISIS killer is believed to have been released in 2016 following the triple assassination attempt, at a time when he was known for drug offences, car theft and robbery.

Despite having the nickname ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’, Cheurfi was a French national, Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon told public broadcaster VRT.

It has been claimed Cheurfi was making dark threats on messaging app Telegram before launching his attack on the Champs Elysees in Paris last night.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the atrocity, which was carried out with a Kalashnikov weapon. A female foreign terrorist was also injured when a bullet ricocheted off the police car before Cheurfi was shot dead.

The fatal incident unfolded as presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, debated on a TV show nearby before Sunday’s election.

French President Francois Hollande said he was convinced it was a terrorist attack, adding that he would hold a security cabinet meeting this morning.

The French-born killer lived in Chelles, a commuter town close to Paris in the Seine-et-Marne department.

In 2003 he was sentenced to 20 years inside a high security prison following the attacks in Roissy-en-Brie, also in Seine-et-Marne.

But he was let out early following an appeal ruling, giving him the freedom to carry out tonight’s attack.

Gunshot-like noise forces BBC crew in Paris to run off the street


The app makers have boasted of security settings which keep messages safe from 'snoopers'

The app makers have boasted of security settings which keep messages safe from ‘snoopers’

Telegram is a messaging app which focuses on speed and security, according to its makers.

It allows users to send messages, photos, videos and files to groups of up to 5,000 and broadcast to unlimited audiences.

A statement on Telegram’s website about security says: ‘Big internet companies like Facebook or Google have effectively hijacked the privacy discourse in the recent years.

‘Their marketers managed to convince the public that the most important things about privacy are superficial tools that allow hiding your public posts or your profile pictures from the people around you. Adding these superficial tools enables companies to calm down the public and change nothing in how they are turning over private data to marketers and other third parties.

‘At Telegram we think that the two most important components of Internet privacy should be instead:

  • Protecting your private conversations from snooping third parties, such as officials, employers, etc
  • Protecting your personal data from third parties, such as marketers, advertisers, etc

‘This is what everybody should care about, and these are some of our top priorities. Telegram’s aim is to create a truly free messenger, without the usual caveats. This means that instead of diverting public attention with low-impact settings, we can afford to focus on the real privacy issues that exist in the modern world.’

Cheurfi was the registered keeper of the grey Audi used in last night’s attack. A raid on his home later found guns and ammunition, intelligence sources said.

He had targeted a parked patrol car full of traffic control officers working to the Paris prefecture.

The officer killed was at the wheel and was having an evening snack at the time of his death.

French television network BFMTV reports that Cheurfi had used the Telegram internet messaging service, which extremists have previously been claimed to favour because of its encryption.

Police are searching the home of the shooter in eastern Paris, and following the attack French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has called for the election campaign to be suspended.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France’s Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the ‘targeted attack’.

He said a ‘car pulled up just after 9pm’ next to a police patrol car which was parked up on the busy avenue.

Police search the car reportedly used in Paris attack

Intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for 'State-security'

Intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday 

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital 

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital

A man jumped out with a weapon and started firing indiscriminately into the police vehicle, hitting the unidentified officer who died directly in the head.

The assailant then ran off, pursued by other officers. Two of them were wounded as they killed him.

Mr Brandet said ‘all lines of investigation were being pursued’, while intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’.

This means he would have been under surveillance, because he was a known risk to the country.

Mr Brandet later said a possible accomplice had turned himself over to Belgian police, but it was ‘too early to say’ if he had played a significant part in the attack.

President Hollande, speaking from the Elysee palace close to the scene of the shooting, said: ‘A national tribute will be paid to this policeman who was killed in such a cowardly way.

‘A passerby was hit. The assailant was neutralised by other police officers. The entire area has been cordoned off. The people present have been evacuated.’

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Updated 9:35 PM ET, Thu April 20, 2017

Paris (CNN)  A man who killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees Thursday night was known to French security services for radical Islamist activities and had shot and wounded an officer in the past, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

The suspect, who was shot dead by French police, was the subject of a “Fiche S” surveillance file and was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.
The man was a French national who shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car, the source said. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer’s gun and shot him three times, the source said. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.
The source said French investigators now believe this was in all likelihood a terrorist attack. They believe there was just one attacker, and the danger is likely over, the source said.
ISIS issued a statement saying an Islamic State “fighter” carried out the attack. The ISIS claim comes via a statement released by the group’s media wing, Amaq. The ISIS statement identified the attacker and called him “the Belgian.” CNN has not confirmed the attacker’s association with Belgium.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said he will reveal the shooter’s identity on Friday at a news conference. He said officers are searching the man’s residence in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, a Paris suburb, and are trying to determine if he had accomplices.
The shooting has not officially been declared a terrorist act but anti-terrorist forces are leading the investigation, French President Francois Hollande said.
“The people who were present have been evacuated and we are convinced that the leads which point us to this case, and which will allow us to uncover the truth, are of a terrorist nature,” he said.

Elections on Sunday

The shooting happened about 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) when a car stopped at 102 Champs-Elysees in front of a police van, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said.
A man emerged from the car and opened fire on the van with an “automatic weapon,” killing one officer instantly, he said. The man “then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen. Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker,” Brandet said.
The slain officer was 30 years old, Molin said. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, he said. Also wounded was a female tourist.
The shooting shut down the famed Champs-Elysees, one of Paris’ top tourist attractions and home to the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument. The avenue was clear of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers Thursday night.
It comes three days before French voters start elections for a new president. Candidates went ahead with a debate Thursday night.
France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead. Parliament voted in December to extend the extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.
Security has been tight because of the vote. Just two days ago French authorities arrested two men in Marseille who were allegedly planning an attack in a run-up to the election.

Police officers block access to the Champs-Elysees.

At least three underground train stations of the Paris Metro — the Champs-Elysees-Clemenceau, George V and F. Roosevelt stations — have been “closed off” near the site of the police operation on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, BFMTV reported.

Trump: ‘What can you say?’

Paris resident Daoud Kal, 29, said he was walking in the area near a metro station when he heard four to five shots. He looked around, but couldn’t identify where the shots were coming from. People panicked and ran away from the scene and he joined them.
The CNN Paris bureau is on this street and staffers reported hearing a dozen shots. At least 20 police vehicles were seen on the street.
Officers could be seen forcibly removing innocent citizens from the area as they attempted to get them to safety.
President Donald Trump, speaking at a news conference in Washington with the visiting Italian Prime Minister, offered condolences to the people of France after the shooting, saying it “looks like another terrorist attack.”
“What can you say? It never ends,” the President said.
The Champs-Elysees is a main road lined with restaurants, cafes, exclusive designer boutiques and tourist shops. At one end is the Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by a several-lane-wide roundabout, and the other end stops at the Place de la Concorde, known for its obelisk monument.
The presidential palace, the Elysee, is a few blocks away.
French police tweeted, “Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces.”

French candidates respond

The US State Department put out a cautionary tweet, saying: “If you’re in #Paris, monitor local news. #ChampsElysees has been closed. Authorities are telling people to avoid the area after a shooting.”

One police officer was killed in a shooting on the Champs-Elysees.

The shooting comes three days before French general elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert. French politicians immediately reacted on social media.
French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen tweeted, “My emotions and solidarity for the police, once again targeted.”
Conservative French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon tweeted, “Paying homage to police who give their lives to protect ours, #ChampsElysees.”
Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve tweeted: “Paying homage to the policeman killed on the champs elysees. Thoughts are with his family. Solidarity with his injured colleagues and those close to them.”
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy tweeted: “To our law enforcement: support, strength, courage. They are paying again a heavy price. Our Nation’s tribute must be total NS”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted: “We won’t give up, not bow and remain united facing these odious and insidious threats that weigh on our cities.”
She also extended a message of solidarity and thanks to the retailers on the Champs-Elysees who gave people shelter during the attack.
This developing story has been updated to clarify details about the attacker’s nationality.

France: Emmanuel Macron says not to “give in to fear” — Le Pen says reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists

April 21, 2017

After Paris Attack


BYREUTERS APRIL 21, 2017 12:49

En Marche candidate Emmanuel Macron urged the country not to “give in to fear” in the wake of the attack.

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage and people standing
Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a political rally near Toulon. (photo credit REUTERS)

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Friday that France should immediately reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services, adding that these were steps she would take, if elected.

Seizing on Thursday night’s killing of a police officer in an attack claimed by Islamic State, Le Pen, who has been campaigning on a hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration platform, urged the Socialist government to carry out immediately measures that are included in her campaign manifesto.


“We cannot afford to lose this war. But for the past ten years, left-wing and right-wing governments have done everything they can for us to lose it. We need a presidency which acts and protects us,” Le Pen told reporters at her campaign headquarters.

French voters elect a president in a two-round vote on April 23 and May 7. Opinion polls have for months forecast that Le Pen would make it through to the run-off, but then lose in the final vote.

Until now, Le Pen had struggled to get the campaign to focus on her party’s trademark tough security and immigration stance. By contrast, she has been thrown on the defensive over her position to pull out of the euro zone, a proposal that lacks wide support.

Referring disparagingly to outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande as “notoriously feeble,” Le Pen said: “I only ask one last-ditch effort from him before leaving power: I solemnly ask him to effectively reinstate our borders.”

She added: “Elected president of the Republic, I would immediately, and with no hesitation, carry out the battle plan against Islamist terrorism and against judicial laxity.”

Several other presidential candidates made public statements in response to the Champs Elysees shooting.

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron urged the country not to “give in to fear” in the wake of the attack.

“We clearly see that the challenge we have in front of us over the coming years will continue to be fighting against terrorism. Because we will not erase it overnight, and for the final stretch of this campaign our challenge is, on the one hand, to bring about the response, to shed light on the democratic choice in this context. But to never give in to fear,” the En Marche candidate said on Friday.

Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon also spoke on Friday, saying that the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” should be the priority of France’s next president.

Fillon, who has been campaigning on a hardline security platform, told reporters: “We are at war, there is no alternative, it’s us or them.”

“Radical Islam is challenging our values and our strength of character.”

It is unclear what impact the attack will have on the first round of already very unpredictable presidential elections on Sunday.

With their hardline view on security and immigration, Le Pen and Francois Fillon may resonate with some voters.

But other attacks that took place shortly before elections – the November 2015 attacks in Paris ahead of regional elections and the shooting in a Jewish school before the 2012 presidential elections – did not have any effect on those ballots.


French police hunting second suspect after Paris attack: official

April 21, 2017


French police were on Friday hunting a second suspect in connection with the fatal shooting of a policeman in Paris, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.

Masked police stand on top of their vehicle on the Champs Elysees Avenue after a policeman was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting incident in Paris, France, April 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Speaking on Europe 1 radio after Thursday’s shootout on the Champs Elysees shopping street, in which an assailant was also killed, Brandet said a second man had been identified by Belgian security officials and flagged to French authorities.

(Reporting by Yves Clarisse; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by Laurence Frost)

Latest terror attack in Paris — Sixth terror strike on Paris in three years — ‘I am here to die for Allah’

April 21, 2017

Image may contain: night and outdoor

  • Most recently, on March 18, a convicted criminal was shot dead at Orly Airport
  • By far the most deadly strike was in November 13, 2015, when 130 people died
  • On January 7, two brothers killed 11 inside headquarters of satirical magazine

French police have said tonight’s attack was ‘probably a terrorist act’, and if so it would be at least the sixth terror strike on Paris in three years.

Most recently, on March 18, a convicted criminal with links to radical Islam shouted ‘I am here to die for Allah, there will be deaths’ seconds before he was shot dead during an attack at Orly airport.

And a month earlier, on February 3, a man was shot five times outside the Louvre museum in the heart of Paris after attempting to storm the historic art gallery.

The shooting in Paris tonight is the latest of a series of attacks that have struck the French capital

The shooting in Paris tonight is the latest of a series of attacks that have struck the French capital

March 18, 2017: Criminal with links to radical Islam shouted ‘I am here to die for Allah, there will be deaths’ seconds before he was shot dead during an attack at Orly airport


A grainy picture claims to show the immediate aftermath of this morning's shooting, after a machete-wielding man attacked four soldiers outside the Louvre, which houses many of the world's most famous paintings, including the Mona Lisa

February 3, 2017: Machete-wielding man attacked four soldiers outside the Louvre art gallery in the city centre


Last year, on June 13, two police officers were murdered in their home just outside Paris in front of their 8-year-old son in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

The area around the Louvre museum in Paris has been evacuated after a huge security operation was launched this morning

The area around the Louvre museum

By far the most deadly strike came on November 13, 2015, when ISIS militants killed 130 people in France’s worst atrocity since World War II.

A series of suicide bomb and shooting attacks were launched on crowded sites in central Paris, as well as the northern suburb of Saint-Denis.

The majority of those killed were in the Bataclan concert hall where hostages were taken.

Islamic State extremists claimed responsibility and said it was in retaliation for French participation in airstrikes on the militant group’s positions in Syria and Iraq.

It led to the declaration of a state of emergency in France with police powers greatly expanded.

And on January 7, two brothers killed 11 people inside the Paris building housing the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for the publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammed.

More were killed subsequently in attacks on a kosher market in eastern Paris and on police. There were 17 victims in all, including two police officers. The attackers were killed.

Terrifying footage shows moments after Paris shooting

June 13, 2016: Two police officers were murdered in their home just outside Paris in front of their 8-year-old son in an attack claimed by Islamic State. Larossi Abballa (pictured) recorded a 12 minute rant to camera about the killings

June 13, 2016: Two police officers were murdered in their home just outside Paris in front of their 8-year-old son in an attack claimed by Islamic State. Larossi Abballa (pictured) recorded a 12 minute rant to camera about the killings

November 13, 2015: ISIS militants killed 130 people in France's worst atrocity since World War II

November 13, 2015: ISIS militants killed 130 people in France’s worst atrocity since World War II

January 7, 2015: Two brothers killed 11 people inside the Paris building housing the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed

January 7, 2015: Two brothers killed 11 people inside the Paris building housing the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed


The shooting on March 20 comes just two days after the arrest of two men found with a cache of weapons and explosives in Marseilles.

They were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the first round of the presidential election on Sunday.


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A catalogue of terror in France — “Paris isn’t Paris anymore” — “Who are these uncivilized people?”

April 21, 2017


© AFP | The shooting of a police officer and the wounding of two others on Paris’s Champs Elysees is the latest in a string of atrocities in France since 2015


A known terror suspect shot dead a French policeman and wounded two others on Paris’s Champs Elysees in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, days before a presidential election.

Image may contain: night and outdoor

Observers had long feared bloodshed ahead of Sunday’s vote in France following a string of atrocities since 2015 and the violence is likely to thrust security to the front of voters’ minds.

Here is a recap of major assaults and foiled attempts since the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January 2015.

– 2015 –

– January 7-9: Two men armed with Kalashnikov rifles storm the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo killing 12 people. A policewoman is killed just outside Paris the following day, while a gunman takes hostages at a Jewish supermarket, four of whom are killed. The attackers are killed in separate shootouts with police, but not before claiming allegiance to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS).

– February 3: A knife-wielding man attacks three soldiers guarding a Jewish community centre in Nice on the French Riviera. The 30-year-old assailant, Moussa Coulibaly, is arrested. In custody, he expresses his hatred for France, the police, the military and Jews.

– April 19: Sid Ahmed Ghlam, an Algerian IT student, is arrested on suspicion of killing a woman who was found shot dead in her car, and of planning an attack on a church in the Paris suburb of Villejuif. Prosecutors say they found documents about Al-Qaeda and IS at his home, and that he had been in touch with a suspected jihadist in Syria about an attack on a church.

– June 26: Frenchman Yassin Salhi, 35, kills and beheads his boss Herve Cornara and displays the severed head, surrounded by two Islamic flags, on the fence of a gas plant in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in southeastern France. He tries to blow up the factory, but is arrested. He commits suicide in his jail cell in December.

– July 13: Four men aged 16 to 23, including a former soldier, are arrested on charges of planning an attack on a military camp to behead an officer in the name of jihad. They proclaim allegiance to IS.

– August 21: Passengers prevent a bloodbath on a high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris, tackling a man who opened fire on travellers. He was armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, an automatic pistol and a box-cutter. The gunman is identified as 25-year-old Moroccan national Ayoub El Khazzani, known to intelligence services for links to radical Islam.

– November 13: IS jihadists armed with assault rifles and explosives strike outside a France-Germany football match at the national stadium, Paris cafes, and the Bataclan concert hall in a coordinated assault that leaves 130 people dead and more than 350 wounded, the deadliest attack of its kind in French history.

– 2016 –

– January 7: A man wielding a meat cleaver and carrying an IS emblem is shot dead as he tries to attack a police station in Paris. Convicted of theft in 2013, the man identified himself at the time as Moroccan- born Sallah Ali.

– June 13: Larossi Abballa, 25, kills police officer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, 42, and his partner, Jessica Schneider, 36, at their home in Magnanville, west of Paris. Salvaing is stabbed to death, while Schneider’s throat is slit in front of their young son. Abballa is killed by a police SWAT team, but has already claimed the murders on social media in the name of the Islamic State group.

– July 14: A truck ploughs through a crowd on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais after a Bastille Day fireworks display, killing 84 people and injuring over 330. The driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, is shot dead by security forces. IS claims responsibility.

– July 26: Attackers slit the throat of a priest in a hostage-taking at his church in the Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

– 2017 –

– February 3: A man armed with a machete in each hand attacks four soldiers on patrol at Paris’s Louvre Museum, shouting “Allah Akbar”. The attacker, a 29-year-old Egyptian, was seriously injured.

– March 18: A 39-year-old man is killed at Paris’s Orly airport after attacking a soldier. The attacker shouted: “I am ready to die for Allah,” according to the Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins.

– April 19: Police arrest two Frenchmen in their twenties in Marseille on suspicion of planning an attack, with bomb-making materials and guns found in searches.

– April 21: A known terror suspect shoots dead a French policeman and wounds two others on the Champs Elysees, before being killed in return fire, in an assault claimed by the Islamic State group.

© 2017 AFP


The truck that ran into a crowd is riddled with bullet holes

 (August 2015)

 (July, 2016)

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 (June 15, 2016)

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Paris, June 14, 2016

There were other disturbing scenes of public violence that add to this list and the perception of a city (Paris) with a severe security situation….

Paris Labour Reform Protests:

Rail workers and taxi drivers are also on strike, disrupting transport.

Demonstrators clash with police officers during a protest against proposed labour reforms in Paris, 14 June

AFP photo

Protesters gather during a demonstration against proposed labour reforms near the Grand Palais, in Paris on June 14, 2016


Masked youths and French police clash during a demonstration in Paris as part of nationwide protests against plans to reform French labour laws, France, June 14, 2016.


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French President François Hollande and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls prior to the weekly cabinet meeting at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 15, 2016 Christophe Petit Tesson, EPA


Masked youths face off with French police and gendarmes during clashes at the Invalides square during a demonstration in Paris as part of nationwide protests against plans to reform French labour laws.


French CRS riot police apprehend a demonstrator during clashes at the Invalides square during a demonstration in Paris as part of nationwide protests against plans to reform French labour laws.


A shopping cart burns as protesters gather near the Invalides during a demonstration against proposed labour reforms in Paris on June 14, 2016.


A picture taken on February 7, 2017 shows the wreckage of a burnt car in one of the main streets of the Cite des 3000 in Aulnay-sous-Bois

The wreckage of a burnt car in Aulnay-sous-Bois after angry French youths clashed with police over the alleged rape of a local man during his arrest. CREDIT:GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT /AFP/GETTY IMAGES 

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 Paris — April 2016 — A protestor kicks a tear gas cannister as demonstrators clash with anti-riot police. Photograph by Joel Saget, AFP, Getty Images
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Paris, March 2016
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French riot police clashing with union members and students demonstrating against labour law reforms, in Paris on March 31, 2016. PHOTO – AFP


Euro 2016 Football:

Violence flares between England fans and youths in Marseille

Fans used chairs as missiles during the clashes (Photo: Twitter/DailyMarseille)

Violence flares between England fans and youths in Marseille

A plume of smoke where French police used tear gas on England fans(Photo: Twitter/DailyMarseille)

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‘I Just Can’t Choose’: French Abstainers, Undecideds Alarm Presidential Hopefuls — “They’re all corrupt.”

April 13, 2017

PARIS — Pensioner Jeannine Delaplane, care-worker Cecile Lungeri, and millions like them are giving French presidential candidates and pollsters nightmares.

Less than two weeks before the first round of the election, they still do not know who to vote for, and may not show up at the polling station at all.

Opinion polls show around a third of France’s 45.7 million voters might abstain, an unprecedented number in a country with a long tradition of high turnouts. Even among those who intend to vote, about one third have yet to make up their mind on how to cast their ballot.

© Joël Saget, AFP | The five leading candidates in the French presidential election

Reasons range from disgust over scandals involving established politicians to dislike among many voters of all the candidates’ personalities or platforms. Added to this is simple confusion: what once looked like a straightforward two-horse race between conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen has produced many surprises.

With voters’ intentions so fluid, four candidates are now in with a fighting chance of coming first and second in the April 23 first round, thereby qualifying for the runoff on May 7. By contrast, support for the candidate of the ruling Socialists has collapsed.

All this has cast extra doubt over a campaign whose unpredictability is unnerving financial markets.

The entrance to the building housing the headquarters of France’s far-right National Front (FN) party in Paris on April 13, 2017. The headquaters was attacked and hit with fire-bombs overnight. Philippe Lopez, AFP

Delaplane, 81, is among those agonizing over how to vote. “I just can’t choose. I’ve never seen a campaign like this,” she said as she waited to catch a glimpse of Fillon at a rally in the town of Provins, a conservative stronghold east of Paris.

She is hesitating between backing Fillon or far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

However, the mainstream conservative is tainted by scandal – he is under formal investigation on suspicion of financial impropriety, although he denies doing anything illegal – and has slid to third. On the other hand, many voters regard Le Pen as an extremist, along with the far-left’s Jean-Luc Melenchon.

A fourth contender, the centrist and new favorite Emmanuel Macron, has never held elected office, was unknown to most of the electorate until nearly three years ago when he became economy minister, and runs a party that is just a year old.

For dental technician-turned-painter Herve Gass, the entire field is unappealing. “I’m in a complete bind,” he said at his studio in an historic part of Provins. “I’ve been put off politics like never before.”

Gass, 63, previously voted conservative but said he had gone off Fillon due to the scandal, while he regarded Le Pen as too radical and 39-year-old Macron as too young and untested. As a result, Gass said he might abstain or enter a blank vote.

GRAPHIC: Predictions and polls –


The past six months have seen veteran politicians from the two mainstream parties that have governed France for decades kicked out of the race one after the other, losing party primaries or throwing in the towel because of abysmal ratings.

Instead, Le Pen and Macron are forecast to contest the run-off, with the ex-banker seen winning easily. Still, the first round is no forgone conclusion; Fillon is making a tentative comeback and Melenchon is emerging as the latest sensation thanks in part to his strong TV debating skills.

In percentage terms, support for Macron and Le Pen is in the low twenties and falling, while Melenchon and Fillon are in the high teens and rising; daily polls put as little as 6 percentage points between all four.

Across France, voters of all political stripes have been telling Reuters they’re not sure what to make of it all.

“I don’t even know if I will vote at all this time,” said Lungeri, the 38-year-old carer from Nice who was traditionally a mainstream right voter. “They’re all corrupt.”

The level of undecided voters has been falling but remains high. While about 80 percent of voters turned out for both rounds of the 2012 presidential elections, predictions for this time remain low, creating a headache for pollsters.

“There is uncertainty for all the candidates,” said Francois Miquet-Marty of Viavoice. “If voting intentions remain that close, abstention will play a key role.”


Macron, who launched his campaign only in November, has the extra handicap of lacking the support of a well-established party.

Polls consistently show Le Pen as having the most decided supporters, with over 80 percent being sure of their choice, but recent surveys have seen the level of certainty of the Macron vote rise, in one case to over 70 percent.

Miquet-Marty said Le Pen could yet be vulnerable as she relies heavily on support among young and working class voters, two groups where abstention is forecast to be high.

The one election in recent history when turnout was far below average was in 2002. Then, a 28 percent abstention rate helped propel Le Pen’s father, National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, into the run-off with only 17 percent of the first round vote. Mainstream voters then rallied behind the center-right candidate Jacques Chirac in the second round, returning turnout to its habitual 80 percent and giving him a decisive victory.

Today the political landscape is more blurred. Analysts say much will depend on who makes the second round. For instance, many left-wing voters would find it hard to back Fillon.

“It’s a real challenge for the candidates, they really need to convince voters to go out there and vote,” said Frederic Dabi of Ifop pollsters, stressing there was a growing feeling among many that voting “has become pointless”.

Voters’ loyalty to parties is much more tenuous than it used to be, and some are swinging across the spectrum.

Camille Diener, a physiotherapist from Strasbourg, backed Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative president from 2007 to 2012, in past elections. This time she is so disappointed by Fillon she has even contemplated a protest vote for Melenchon.

“I don’t have a candidate any more,” the 28-year-old said, adding that she was ultimately leaning towards Macron.

“This election is just unbelievable,” a minister in the Socialist government said on condition of anonymity. “What strikes me, even beyond the high abstention, is how impossible it is to make forecasts: people waver between Fillon and Melenchon, between Le Pen and Macron, based on the most bizarre reasoning.”

With the second round to be held in the middle of a long, holiday weekend, many voters might just opt to go to the beach or fishing rather than address their tricky, and in some cases distasteful, election dilemma.

“I’m telling people enough is enough, screw it, stay home!” said Doriane Slamani, a resident of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges near Paris, who for the first time will skip a presidential election. “No candidate deserves my vote.”

(Additional reporting by Reuters France reporters; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrew Callus and David Stamp)