Gunman on the run after deadly shooting at Strasbourg's Christmas market



Emergency services were on high alert, prior to the attack. The market was the target of an al-Qaida-linked plot at the turn of the millennium.

"We should not allow a terrorist to interfere with our way of life", he said on BFM television.

A terrorism investigation has been opened into Tuesday's attack, which put parts of the city on lockdown. Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament, one of several places locked down after the shooting and those inside prevented from leaving.

All rallies and demonstrations throughout the Strasbourg area were declared "forbidden" until further notice, the Prefecture of the Grand East and Lower Rhine Region said in a statement on Wednesday.

A man known only as "Cherif C." has been named by French news media as the suspect in a possible terrorist attack at a Strasbourg Christmas Market near the border between Germany and France. Le Figaro reported that "the alleged perpetrator of the shooting is Chérif C." who was born in 1989. He did not elaborate.

Morisse says police found explosive materials at the home.

The Christmas market in Strasbourg and the city's illuminations are an annual tourist attraction that draw hundreds of thousands of people. He and his wife were on a visit to Strasbourg and Paris.

Security was tight this year for the Christmas market, popular with visitors to the city's old quarter, with its Gothic cathedral and half-timbered houses. After the evening attack, as police fanned out in their manhunt, officers also detained four associates of the gunman, the prosecutor said. Officials did not explain the conflicting numbers.

Mr Castaner said: "The government has chose to move the security level to "Emergency Attack" with stricter controls at the borders, and the implementation of reinforced controls on all the Christmas markets that are taking place in France to avoid the risk of copycat attacks". Police officials said he was wounded in a gunfight with soldiers after the Tuesday night attack but escaped, and a top official said he might have escaped to neighboring Germany.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Witnesses described hearing gunshots, screams and shouts of police officers.

"I didn't realise they were shotgun noises and then I saw two people on the ground and many many people screaming and starting to run".

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"From my hotel window I saw passersby dragging someone who was injured and onlookers panicking", he tweeted.

"I heard over six shots and at that stage, there was chaos, confusion, everyone was running - there was pandemonium".

The 27-year-old said: "After that I closed the shutters". Authorities did not disclose his name, but they said he had a history of petty crimes. "And then, as it got close, it was really shocking. There were a lot of screams".

Freelance journalist Camille Belsoeur said he was at a friend's apartment on the same street and at first mistook the gunfire for firecrackers.

People are invited to stay at home. He said he tried to resuscitate him but the man died. "We applied CPR. We dragged him into a restaurant close by", Fritz said.

"There are no ambulance services able to enter the area, apparently", he said, adding: "After 45 minutes we stopped the resuscitation [attempt], because a doctor told us on the phone that it was senseless".

In 2016, a truck ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, killing more than 80 people, while in November 2015, coordinated militant attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites in Paris claimed about 130 lives.

Macron adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace tonight to monitor the emergency, his office said.

The Paris prosecutor, in charge of anti-terror probes in France, was also in Strasbourg.

French prosecutors said a terrorism investigation was opened after the shooting, though authorities have not announced a motive for the bloodshed.

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