Latest: Islamic State: We carried out deadly Champs Elysees attack

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed a Paris police officer.

  • A police officer has been killed and two others injured in a suspected terrorist shooting in the centre of Paris.
  • The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • French officials said the suspect in the attack was previously flagged as an extremist.
  • The incident comes days before the French election, which is to take place on Sunday.
  • The world-famous Champs-Elysees avenue has been sealed off and nearby stations on the Paris Metro have been closed.

Bystanders raise their arms as police seal off the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker

Update 11.55pm: France's presidential candidates have expressed solidarity with police forces following the shooting of three officers in Paris, leaving one dead and two gravely wounded, as the Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

The 11 candidates were appearing on a television programme ahead of the first round of voting in the two-part election on Thursday night when the attack on the Champs Elysees boulevard that left one officer dead happened.

The attacker opened fire on a police van with an automatic weapon before being killed.

A prosecutor said his identity had been been verified and police said at least one location in the eastern Paris suburbs was being searched.

Two police sources said the gunman had been flagged as an extremist.

In a statement from its Amaq news agency, IS gave a pseudonym for the gunman, indicating he was Belgian.

The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria.

And the pseudonym, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicated that the attacker already had ties of some sort to IS extremists.

Conservative presidential contender Francois Fillon said he was cancelling his planned campaign stops on Friday and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen took to Twitter to offer her sympathy for law enforcement officers "once again targeted".

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron offered his thoughts to the family of the dead officer and Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his "full support" to police against terrorism.

The first round of the presidential race is will take place on on Sunday and the two top contenders will advance to a run-off on May 7.

France's president Francois Hollande said he was convinced the circumstances surrounding the attack on the police officers pointed to a terrorist act and has convened a National Defence and Security Council to meet on Friday morning.

The council comprises top security, police and military figures and several members of the government.

A French government spokesman said the assailant had an automatic firearm akin to a "war weapon".

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said no tourists or pedestrians were injured.

Police said the attacker was shot dead by an officer or officers.

Update 11.15pm: A police officer has been killed and two others injured in a suspected terrorist shooting in the centre of Paris.

The attacker opened fire on a police car parked on the Champs-Elysees before he was also shot dead, the French Interior Ministry said.

French officials said the suspect in the attack was previously flagged as an extremist.

France's Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve paid tribute to the officer and tweeted that his thoughts are with the family.

US President Donald Trump, speaking at a press conference in Washington, said the incident "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent his condolences to France.

Mr Hollande said at a press conference that he is convinced the attack was a terrorist act.

Mr Hollande tweeted that his thoughts went to the family of the dead policeman and relatives of the wounded.

The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Update 10.20pm: An attacker with an automatic weapon opened fire on police in Paris' Champs-Elysees shopping district on Thursday night, killing one officer and wounding two others before police shot and killed him.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt metro station at the centre of the avenue popular with tourists.

She said he appeared to be acting alone.

Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

The Paris prosecutor's office said counter terrorism investigators were involved in the probe.

A French government spokesman says the attacker used a "war weapon" to fire on the officers.

French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. He said officers were "deliberately" targeted.

Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, US President Donald Trump said the shooting in Paris "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent his condolences to France.

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide avenue that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Garden, normally packed with cars and tourists.

Metro stations were closed.

Security forces are more widespread in Paris since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, and France remains under a state of emergency.

Thursday's attack came three days before the first round of voting in France's tense presidential election.

Security is high after police said they arrested two men on Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack.

French President Francois Hollande scheduled an emergency meeting on Thursday night.

The incident recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris, one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting and saw a man's body on the ground before police quickly evacuated the area where she works in a shop.

A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.

None of the candidates immediately commented.

Two police officials said the suspected attacker had been flagged as an extremist.

One Paris resident said the gunfire sent scores of tourists fleeing into side streets.

Badi Ftaiti, 55, a Tunisian-born mason who has spent three decades in Paris, said the attack did not panic him.

But he said visitors "were running, running. Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them.

Update 9.50pm: French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation into the Champs-Elysees attack on Paris police officers.

One officer has been confirmed dead in the incident which occurred in the French capital earlier tonight.

There had been reports that a second policeman had died after the shooting but that is not now believed to be the case.

Police officers take positions near the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker.

Police sources say the person who fired on them has also been killed and authorities are warning people to avoid the Champs-Elysees area.

French President Francois Hollande has scheduled an emergency meeting following the shootings.

Earlier: Paris police say that a gunman killed one police officer and wounded another before being killed himself in an attack on the Champs-Elysees shopping district.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said that the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station on Thursday night at the centre of the avenue popular with tourists.

The attack came three days before the first round of France's tense presidential election.

Security is high around the vote after France has been attacked in recent years.

Police had arrested two men on Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack.

The incident recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris, one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting and saw a man's body on the ground before police quickly evacuated the area, where she works in a shop.

A French television station hosting a televised event with the 11 candidates running for president briefly interrupted its broadcast to report the shootings.

None of the candidates immediately commented.

The French Interior Ministry said the attack deliberately targeted police officers guarding the area.

Spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle.

Mr Brandet said the police officers were "deliberately" targeted.

He said police were securing the area but there is "no other police operation under way" there.

He said it was too early to say whether the attacker might have had an accomplice, and said authorities were studying multiple potential motives.

US President Donald Trump, speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, said the shooting "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent his condolences to France.

Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide avenue that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Garden, normally packed with cars and tourists.

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