Paris: A gunman jumped out of a auto, killed a police officer and wounded two others on the Champs-Elysees in central Paris on Thursday night, in what French President Francois Hollande described as a terrorist-related attack.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack via the group's Amaq news agency. Police shot and killed the gunman. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.
"The perpetrator of the attack in Champs Elysee in central Paris is Abu Yussef the Belgian and he is one of the Islamic State's fighters", it said.
Police are warning people to avoid the Champs-Elysees, one of the world's most prestigious boulevards.
Paris police and soldiers have sealed off the area around the Champs-Elysees after an attack on police, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.
The attacker was being investigated over his possible intention to kill police officers, sources close to the investigation said.
Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist.
French presidential candidates canceled or rescheduled last-minute campaign events ahead of Sunday's first round vote in the tense election.
President Francois Hollande said he was convinced the "cowardly killing" on the Champs Elysees boulevard, in which the assailant was himself shot dead by police, was an act of terrorism.
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"Immediately a man got out and fired on the police vehicle, mortally wounding a police officer", Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said.
Brandet said officers were "deliberately" targeted, as has happened repeatedly to French security forces in recent years, including preceding the 2012 election.
"They were running, running", said 55-year-old Badi FtaÃ¯ti, who lives in the area.
Subway stations in the area were closed off on Thursday night while police secure the scene.
French President Francois Hollande has scheduled an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve following the shootings. "Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".
Candidates in the election said they had been warned about the Marseille attackers.
Emergency vehicles blocked the wide avenue lined with shops that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Gardens, normally packed with cars and tourists.
Mr Brandet said a robbery may have been carried out at the same time as the attack but it is not clear if the two are linked. At the time of the shooting, all 11 presidential candidates were appearing on television.
Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump said the shooting in Paris "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent condolences to France. The risk for the main candidates was that misjudging the public mood, making an ill-perceived gesture or comment, could damage their chances.