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  1. ITV Report

Manhunt continues for Strasbourg Christmas market attack suspect

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Angus Walker

Police are continuing to hunt for the suspected Strasbourg gunman two days after an attack near the city's Christmas market.

At least three people were killed on Tuesday evening when a gunman, armed with a handgun and knife, opened fire just before 8pm.

Officials named the suspect as Strasbourg local, Chérif Chekatt, a 29-year-old with a long criminal record who has served prison sentences in France and Germany for several offences, including serious robbery.

He was on a terror watch list after reportedly being radicalised in prison.

Following the attacks, the government raised the terror alert to its highest level nationwide, while 1,800 additional soldiers have been deployed across France to help patrol streets and secure crowded events.

Photos of Chekatt have been distributed with the warning: "Individual dangerous, above all do not intervene."

More than 700 police officers are involved in the search for Chekatt, but despite police checks at the border, officials fear he may already have fled to neighbouring Germany.

French soldiers patrol in the streets following the attack which left at least three dead. Credit: AP

The suspect was reported to have shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic) as he launched his attack which left another 12 injured, five critically.

One of the dead was named as Thai tourist 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn who was travelling with his wife.

Mr Suebsamarn's uncle told newspaper Khao Sod the couple had originally planned to visit Paris, but the yellow vest protests led them to change their plans, choosing to go to Strasbourg instead.

Radio station EuroPhonica confirmed two members of its staff were among the injured, including 28-year-old Italian journalist Antonio Megalizzi who is in a critical condition.

People had laid flowers and lit candles at the site of the attack and the Christmas market remained closed on Thursday.

French police officers control cars at the French-German border following the shooting in Strasbourg. Credit: AP

One eyewitness told ITV News he saw casualties lying on the pavement and was forced to run as the gunman started heading towards him.

The suspect was shot and injured in the arm by soldiers guarding the Christmas market as he escaped in a taxi to another part of the city, prosecutor Remy Heitz said.

Four members of Chekatt's family have been arrested as part of the search for the gunman. German border police searched cars leaving Strasbourg as they crossed the bridge over River Rhine to Kehl.

There was a heavy armed police presence in Strasbourg following the attack. Credit: AP

What we know about the suspect

  • He has been named as Chérif Chekatt, a 29-year-old Strasbourg local
  • The suspect was subject of a 'fiche S', literally an S card, which is used by police to flag someone who is considered a threat to national security. Although not grounds for arrest, a fiche S allows surveillance.
  • French authorities said that the suspect had run-ins with police starting at age 10 and his first conviction was at age 13.
  • BFMTV said the suspect was known to be part of radicalised networks in Strasbourg and was a "repeat offender" and a "delinquent".
  • His home was subject of a search on Tuesday morning as part of investigations into a robbery. He was not in but grenades were found.
  • He was shot in the arms by police as he fled the scene in a taxi.
Tributes were left to the victims. Credit: AP

Stephane Morisse, from the FGP Police union, said authorities investigating a robbery went to the alleged gunman's Strasbourg home earlier on Tuesday, but he was not there.

The gunman was said to have entered central Strasbourg via the Corbeau bridge to the south of the city centre, before heading to Rue des Orfevres, a popular shopping street close to the cathedral, where he opened fire at around 8pm local time (7pm GMT).

A poster warning people not to approach Cherif Chekatt. Credit: AP

It is understood the Foreign Office has not yet received any reports of British nationals caught up in the shooting.

In the aftermath, residents were urged to stay indoors and the nearby European Parliament was placed on lockdown.

The Parliament held a minutes silence at noon to remember the victims.

European Parliament Antonio Tajani called the shooting "a criminal attack against peace, against democracy, against our model of life."

More than 5,000 spectators at a basketball game in the city, who were told to remain the Rhenus Sport arena, sang the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, in tribute to those affected by the shooting.

President Emmanuel Macron, who attended a Interdepartmental Crisis Centre meeting, left without speaking to reporters but later tweeted the "solidarity of the entire nation" is with Strasbourg, the victims and their families".

The gunman was said to have entered central Strasbourg via the Corbeau bridge. Credit: PA

France has been hit by several extremist attacks in recent years, including the 2015 Paris shootings which left 130 people dead and wounded hundreds more.

In 2016 a truck was driven into Bastille Day crowds in Nice, killing 86 people and leaving hundreds injured.

Twelve people were killed and 48 were injured when a man drove a truck into crowds at a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016.