PARIS, France--(04/20/2017) A police officer was killed and two others were seriously injured when a gunman opened fire late Thursday on the famed Champs-Élysées in Paris before he was shot dead, officials said. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.
French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation into the attack on the officers, which took place at 8:50 p.m. local time.
Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said authorities have identified the 39-year-old gunman but did not name him publically. Officials are still assessing whether he had accomplices, he said.
Molins said the gunman used an assault rifle, and at least one location in the eastern Paris suburbs is being searched as officials work to learn more information about the attacker.
"The identity of the attacker is known and has been checked," he said. "I will not give it because investigations with raids are ongoing."
In a statement from its Amaq news agency, ISIS named the attacker Abu Yousef Al-Baljiki, "The Belgian," adding that he was "one of the Islamic State fighters."
The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria. It also referred to the attacker as one of the "fighters," rather than the "soldiers" of the Islamic State.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press the attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the avenue popular with tourists.
French President Francois Hollande said he is convinced the circumstances of the Paris shooting points to a terrorist act.
"We need to realize our security, law enforcement forces targeted have the full support of the nation," he said in an address to the nation.
Hollande said security forces would be vigilant during the forthcoming presidential election.