17:45 GMT25 September 2020
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    Three people were killed and about a dozen others wounded in a shooting at the Christmas Market in the city of Strasbourg on Tuesday.

    Shots Fired

    Around 7.50 p.m. [local time, 18.50 GMT) on Tuesday a man opened fire in the vicinity of Strasbourg’s famous Christmas Market, killing three people and injuring 12 others, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner confirmed.

    READ MORE: 5 Killed, 3 Injured in Brazil Cathedral Shooting (VIDEO)

    Conflicting reports suggested that the death toll had risen to four, but the information has not been confirmed. French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation while the police are chasing the suspect.

    Suspect: Fugitive, But Identity Known

    Shortly after the shots were reported, AFP cited a police source as saying that the suspect, who is still at large, had been identified. The 29-year-old man was known to security services and had been convicted in France and Germany and served his sentences, the minister added.

    He is said to have been wounded in an exchange of fire with law enforcement officers.

    AFP cited a source familiar with the investigation as saying that the assailant had been flagged by the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) because he was noted for violence and religious proselytism while in prison.

    The suspect was reportedly already wanted for armed robbery before the shooting.

    Manhunt Underway

    Law enforcement agents are in pursuit, and are said to be conducting an operation in Strasbourg’s Neudorf District, where the perpetrator is believed to be hiding after wounding a French officer. According to Castaner, 350 officers, supported by two helicopters, have been mobilised to track him down.

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    French authorities have raised the security level to “emergency attack” and strengthened border controls, as well as reinforced surveillance at all Christmas markets “to avoid the risk of copycat attacks”.

    Europe Stands in Solidarity

    After being informed of the attack, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed solidarity with the families of victims on Twitter:

    TWEET: "I express solidarity of the nation with whole Strasbourg, victims and their families".

    British Prime Minister Theresa May also took to Twitter to express her condolences:

    President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker wrote: "My thoughts are with the victims of the Strasbourg shooting, which I condemn with the utmost firmness. Strasbourg is an excellent symbol of peace and European Democracy. [Of] Values that we will always defend. The Commissions stands in solidarity with France".

    terror, terror attack, gunman, terror alert, shooting, investigation, Strasbourg, France
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