France was attacked by a lone gunman who authorities have deemed as a terrorist and is still on the run. The gunman has killed at least four people and injured another 11 before getting away. He is reported to have been identified by officers, but they have still not been able to locate the shooter from the Strasbourg Christmas Market attack.
French police say a single gunman started his terror attack in the center of the city just before 8 p.m., which is one of the peak hours of business for the millions of tourists it receives each year. One witness described the gunman firing the first volley of rounds near the market around 8 p.m.
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"There were gunshots and people running everywhere," a shopkeeper told local news BFMTV. "It lasted about 10 minutes." A waiter who worked at a nearby restaurant told the media agency that staff and customers tried to save a diner who stepped outside and was immediately shot. "We used napkins to try to stem the blood," but the man later died.
The Paris anti-terrorist division of the prosecutor's office declared the shooting an act of terrorism and announced a full inquiry would be opened into what he called "murder and attempted murder in relation to a criminal enterprise." French interior minister Christophe Castaner said the gunman "has been identified" but not apprehended yet.
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The gunman is 29-years-old, born in Strasbourg, and is on the national "Fiche S" list of people who are considered by the security services as a threat. During Sentineelle, a French military operation which followed the aftermath of terrorist attacks around Paris in January of 2015, the same gunman shot at patrolling soldiers injuring one of them.
Despite the gunman's extreme danger to anyone around him, authorities would not release his name. They only warned that an armed terrorist is running around shooting people. The European Parliament is currently in Strasbourg leading some to speculate another attack may be imminent. The parliament was subsequently locked down, and those MEPs dining in the city center were warned to "please stay inside and don't go out.
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The warning read, "[A] decision has been taken, as a precautionary measure, to close the European Parliament building in Strasbourg. We ask you to stay calm and safe within [European parliament] premises." Local police asked residents to avoid the precinct so they could do their job.
France is already on high alert after the string of protests over Macron's fuel taxes. Despite minimum wage hike promises, it seems some elements of the population are not giving up the protest yet. The country has had its fair share of terrorist attacks with one being in 2016 when a truck was driven into the Christmas Market in Berlin killing 12 an injuring 56. The attack was carried out by an extremist named Anis Amri, a Tunisian who was denied asylum in Germany.
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