An gunman shot and killed one police officer and wounded two others after getting out of a car at the Champs-Élysées in Paris and opening fire, targeting them with an automatic weapon.
The alleged assailant claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group attacked the officers near a metro station at the popular tourist attraction and shopping district in the French capital Thursday night.
French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said that the gunman got out of a car near the officers, “deliberately targeted” them in their vehicle with some form of automatic firearm.
The attacker was shot and killed as he ran away and continued shooting, Brandet added.
One officer was pronounced dead shortly after the explosion of gunfire, which sent shoppers scrambling for safety around 9 p.m. local time.
A French police union said that a second officer later succumbed to his wounds, though the Interior Ministry said late Thursday that he had not.
French President Francois Hollande told the nation that he believes the shooting was “terrorist in nature” shortley before a statement from ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq said that the terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Authorities have not identified the attacker, though the ISIS statement, released only hours after the bloodshed, called him Abu Yusuf al-Belgiki.
Police said that the gunman had previously been known as an extremist, and have also sought an arrest warrant for a second suspect who allegedly arrived in France by train from Belgium.
France has been under a state of emergency since attacks in November 2015 claimed by terrorist group ISIS killed 130 people, leading to a large presence of heavily armed police on city streets.
Other attacks, including a truck attack in Nice last summer that killed 86, have continued to keep the country on edge, with an Egyptian man arrested in February for attacking soldiers at Paris’s Louvre museum.
Two men in the southern city of Marseille were arrested Tuesday after authorities said that they were planning another attack.
The country is also preparing for the hotly contested first round of its presidential election on Sunday, leading to an additional increase in security.
Leading candidates were west of Paris, in Saint-Cloud, making final pitches to voters on a France 2 television program.
Centrist Emmanuel Macron, leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, conservative Francois Fillon and far-right Marine Le Pen all expressed their support for French law enforcement on Twitter after the shooting.
President Trump said at a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentioloni that he expressed his condolences to the victims of what he said “looks like another terrorist attack.”
“What can you say? It just never ends. We have to be strong and we have to be vigilant…” he added.
With News Wire Services
This is a developing story and will be updated