Paris Shooting: Gunman Was 'Focus Of Anti-Terror' Probe

The gunman who shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in Paris was detained in February for threatening police and then freed.

Archive reports by French newspaper Le Parisien say he was convicted of attacking a police officer in 2001.

The man responsible for a shootout in central Paris on Thursday night was a French national, Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon has told public broadcaster VRT. However, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said it was "too early to say" if the man who surrendered in Belgium was involved.

"This evening at nine a clock police people in a vehicle were attacked at the Champs-Elysée", said Hollande who was due to meet top security, defence and intelligence officials on Friday.

Following the shoot out, the Champs-Elysées was closed and authorities were telling people to avoid the area.

Thursday's shooting came just before the French presidential elections.

Islamic State claimed it was responsible for the attack and named Abu Yusuf al Beljiki as the attacker - though it is believed this could be a pseudonym for Cheurfi. "Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker".

The attacker emerged from a auto and used an automatic weapon to shoot at officers outside a Marks & Spencer's department store at the center of the Champs-Elysees, anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said.

French President Francois Hollande promised "absolute vigilance, particularly with regard to the electoral process" and paid tribute to the police.

A second suspect in the attack, which also left two other officers and a tourist injured, has handed himself into Belgian police after they alerted Paris of his possible involvement.

Police shot and killed the gunman shortly after the attack, and said he was known to authorities.

The far-right presidential candidate in France, Marine Le Pen, has condemned what she calls security lapses, as the nation prepares to vote in the shadow of a terror attack. Witnesses recounted scenes of panic as people ran for cover and sought shelter. The assailant reportedly targeted a police vehicle.

Security forces are more widespread in Paris since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, and France remains under a state of emergency.

"I won't reveal it, because investigations and raids are already under way, in particular to establish whether there is any evidence or not of complicity (in this attack)", he said, adding that more information would be released on Friday.

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