Francois Fillon has called for the French election campaign to be suspended
The right-wing presidential hopeful cancelled his event scheduled tomorrow. Front National leader Marine Le Pen followed suit, even though voters are set to vote in the first round on Sunday.
A police officer was killed and two others were seriously injured after a gunman opened fire close to the Champs Elysees. A tourist was also shot in the leg but the injury is not thought to be life-threatening.
Live images: Terror at French election
Tue, April 18, 2017
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Members of the French RAID police unit leave after searching the home of one of two men arrested in Marseille on April 18, 2017 after they were suspected of plotting an
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting which occurred days before the French public are set to vote in the first round of a two part election.
The terror network also named the attacker – who was subsequently killed – as Belgian Abu Yousif. A second suspect who may have been involved in the incident could still be on the loose, according to officials.
President Francois Hollande said: “We shall be of the utmost vigilance, especially in relation to the election.”
The attack in Champs Elysees occurred as candidates went head-to-head in a television debate just a few miles away from the tourist hotspot.
Ms Le Pen repeated her call for France’s sovereign borders to be reimposed and an end to the Schengen zone as the incident brought issues of security and immigration back to the forefront of the campaign.
Fillon and Marine Le Pen have cancelled their last campaign day
The Front National leader also confirmed her solidarity with the police in her initial reaction to the attack as she tweeted: “My emotions and solidarity for the police, once again targeted."
A poll earlier this week found that more than half of French police officers plan to cast their vote for the populist anti-immigration Ms Le Pen, according to the Daily Mail.
President Hollande has urged the French public to remain vigilant
Police search the assailant's house in Chelles, Paris
A kitchen assistant who witnessed the attack said: “I came out of the Sephora shop and I was walking along the pavement… A man got out of a car and opened fire with a kalashnikov on a policeman.
"The policeman fell down. I heard six shots, I was afraid. I have a two year-old girl and I thought I was going to die… He shot straight at the police officer."
Officers have conducted a search at the assailants home in eastern Paris. A machine gun, two hand guns and three kilos of TATP explosive were among the weapons found, it has been reported.