France: Gunman open fires killing 3 in Strasbourg’s Christmas market

France: On Tuesday evening, a gunman on a security watchlist opened fire at a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg, in France killing three people and wounding 13 others.

The attack began at about 8 pm (1900 GMT) as stallholders prepared to close down. Bystanders were swiftly ushered into nearby shops.

Following the incident, France Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said, “the shooter had evaded a police dragnet and was on the run, raising concerns of a follow-up attack”.

“The government has raised its security threat to the highest level and is bolstering border controls. We will also reinforce security at all Christmas markets to prevent copycat attacks”, he added.

The minister said that the gunman exchanged shots with security forces twice as he escaped. His whereabouts now were unknown, and elite commandos and helicopters were involved in the manhunt.

Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, the EU executive body, tweeted: “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. Values that we will always defend.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “shocked and saddened.”

Cops identified the suspect as Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, who was known to the intelligence services as a potential security risk.

(With inputs from Reuters)