A policeman was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting on the Champs Élysées on Thursday night.

The attacker who was driving a van, stopped next to a police van with officers at 9pm, got out of the car and using an automatic weapon started shooting at the officers. He killed one officer in the van and injured two other officers standing on the pavement, before police shot him dead. A tourist was slightly hurt on her knee by a bullet shard.

French police are also searching for a man identified by Belgian security services. 

The French President François Hollande said the Champs Élysées incident was a “terrorist” attack and assured French citizens that security services will show “utmost vigilance” so that everything is safe in the run-up to the presidential election on Sunday, 23 April. 

Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack naming the attacker as one of their “fighters”, Abu Yussef, “the Belgian.”

According to international news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), the attacker was 39 years old and was under investigation by anti-terrorist officers, having exhibited previously intentions to kill police. In 2005, he was jailed for attempting to murder three policemen. He lived in the French suburbs and was seen as an Islamist radical. 

Paris prosecutor François Molins confirmed that "the attacker's identity is known and has been verified," but he declined to reveal it due to the ongoing investigations and raids. It’s still unclear whether they were any accomplices. 

Political reaction

President Trump sent his condolences from the White House, and said that “It’s a very, very terrible thing that’s going on in the world today. But it looks like another terrorist attack and what can you say? It just never ends. We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant and I’ve been saying it for a long time.”

Downing Street spokesman said: "The UK strongly condemns the appalling terrorist attack in Paris. The Prime Minister (Theresa May) has tonight passed on her condolences to President Hollande."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to stand "strong and determined" alongside France.

Arrests 

On Tuesday, two men were arrested for attempting to organise a terrorist attack during the election period in France and had gathered weapons and bomb-making equipment. A 3kg homemade explosive was also found in their flat. British intelligence had information that one of the suspects, Mahiedine Merabet, 29 years old, was trying to send Isis a video to show his support, and on Wednesday Paris anti-terror court opened a preliminary investigation into the case.

Election outcome 

The attack could potentially influence the French elections. Marine Le Pen, François Fillon and Emmanuel Macron have announced that they are cancelling their campaign events for Friday. Far-right Le Pen and conservative Fillon, might attract votes after the terrorist attack for different reasons. Anti-immigration Le Pen supporters might turn to her, while voters who feel insecure about France’s future might turn toward a more experienced politician like Fillon. Macron and far-left Mélenchon, might lose votes due to their softer stance on foreign and security policies.