Death toll from Strasbourg shooting rises to three

Death toll from Strasbourg shooting rises to three
At least three people have died after a gunman opened fire close to a Christmas market in Strasbourg.
2 min read
12 December, 2018
Police are searching for the gunman [Anadolu]

Three people have died in a shooting close to a Christmas market in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, after a gunman opened fire, police have said.

Three or four of the injured are in critical condition, Mayor Roland Ries said.

A manhunt was underway after the assailant managed to flee after exchanging shots with security forces patrolling the area at around 8:00 pm (1900 GMT).

Stephane Morisse, from the FGP Police union, told AP that authorities went to the alleged assailant's residence earlier Tuesday to arrest him but the 29-year-old suspected of ties to radicalism wasn't there. Explosive materials were found at the home, Morisse added.

Soldiers guarding the Christmas market shot and wounded the suspect before he opened fire and attempted to escape, according to police.

A terrorism investigation has been opened into Tuesday's attack, which put parts of the city on lockdown.

Among the dead was a Thai tourist who suffered a head wound and didn't respond to efforts to revive him, according to AP.

"We tried our best to resuscitate him. We applied CPR. We dragged him into a restaurant close by," one man said.

Parts of Strasbourg are in lock down after the shooting.

Two separate security sources told AFP on condition of anonymity that the shooter was believed to be a 29-year-old from the city named Cherif who was set to be arrested on Tuesday morning.

France has been on high alert following a wave of attacks by militants inspired by the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda in recent years.

In 2016, a truck was deliberately driven into a packed Christmas market in Berlin after the assailant Anis Amri claimed allegiance to IS.

In recent months France has also been rocked by mass anti-government protests organised by the 'Gilets Jaunes', or Yellow Vest movement.

Five people have died since the start of the protests, which began over increases in fuel tax but have since snowballed into a nationwide opposition force to Macron's agenda and governing style.

The group Tuesday vowed to press on with their demonstrations, a day after wringing out fresh concessions from President Emmanuel Macron that are set to cost the state an estimated 11 billion euros ($12.5 billion).