During a shooting near a Christmas market in the center of the French city Strasbourg around eight o'clock yesterday evening, according to French Minister of Home Affairs Christophe Castaner, three people were killed and twelve were injured: six of them remain in a very serious condition.
The 29-year-old shooter, known to police for radicalization and extremist Islamic beliefs, is still on the run, citizens were told to stay inside until 5 o’clock this morning. In order to prevent the perpetrator from evacuating the country, the borders with Germany and Luxembourg are secured extra tightly.
The threat level in France has risen to the highest level: 'urgence attentat' or ‘emergency situation as the result of an attack.’
Related coverage: France - Four Killed In Terror Attack Near Christmas Market, 11 Injured
Among the dead by the shooting in Strasbourg is a Thai tourist. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Southeast Asian country, it is a 45-year-old man who was on holiday in France with his wife.
The couple had arrived in the city a few hours just before the shooting. The woman remained unharmed. The man died by a bullet in the head. The gunman, who according to the police presumably had a terrorist motive, is still on the run.
Around half past four at night the police announced that the city’s lockdown has officially been lifted. Everyone is asked to remain vigilant and to follow orders of the authorities. The police now fully concentrate on tracing and arresting the suspected perpetrator, who is still not apprehended.
The Académie Strasbourg announces that, in consultation with the mayor, it has been decided that nurseries and primary schools will remain closed today.
The suspected perpetrator had a criminal record both in France and in Germany and was engaged in petty crime from a very early age on. Because of his radicalization into Islamic extremism, he was followed by the police for several years and had been put on the infamous ‘Fiche S’ list, which groups together all individuals that France believes could one day act as lone gunmen.
The hunt for the man, who has been identified by French media as Chérif Chekatt, continues.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, 350 people are actively looking for the man. The services of RAID, BRI and Operation Sentinel are on the ground. According to Minister Castaner, the government has sent extra men to Strasbourg.
Former Presidential candidate Ms Marine Le Pen of the rightwing Rassemblement National (formerly Front National), slammed the government for their handling of the case and for the fact that the government refuses to follow-up on all people who are on the ‘Fiche S’ list.
In a series of tweets, she has called for all foreigners who are on the Fiche S list to be expelled from France immediately.
She stated that Strasbourg was known as a hiding place for Islamic fundamentalists because it borders two other countries and thus offers easy escape routes.
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