Paris attacker was arrested

The gunman who killed a police officer and wounded two others on the Champs-Elysees in Paris was arrested in February on suspicion of plotting to kill police officers, French media reported Friday.

The suspect was detained and later freed because of a lack of evidence, Radio France International said.

In 2003, the man was convicted of attempted homicide in the shootings of two police officers, the Associated Press reported.

The attacker opened fire on a police van in the famous Paris boulevard Thursday before he was shot and killed. The Islamic State identified him by the pseudonym Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki (father of Yusuf the Belgian) through its Amaq news agency.

Multiple media outlets named the gunman as Karim Cheurfi, a French national and a father of two. Authorities have not named the attacker.

The attack came days before the first round of voting in the French presidential election on Sunday.

President Trump tweeted Friday: “Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

“Nothing must hamper this democratic moment, essential for our country,” Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Friday. “Barbarity and cowardice struck Paris last night.” He urged people “not to succumb to fear.”

Police searched a home in Chelles, a neighborhood in eastern Paris, following the attack. A police document obtained by the AP said the property was the family home of Cheurfi, 39.

A Belgian man suspected to have been involved in the attack turned himself in after seeing reports that he was a suspect on social media, the AP reported. Authorities said he had nothing to do with the attack.


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