In this image made from video, emergency services arrive on the scene of a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 (AP Photo)

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed two people and wounded 11 others, officials said, sparking a broad lockdown and major security operation around a world-famous Christmas market Tuesday. Authorities said the shooter remains at large.

French prosecutors said a terrorism investigation was opened into the shooting, though authorities haven’t announced a motive. It’s unclear if the market — which was the nucleus of an al-Qaida plot in 2000 — was targeted. The city is also home to the European Parliament, which was locked down after the shooting.

The gunman has been identified and has a criminal record, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. The prefect of the Strasbourg region says the gunman had been flagged as a suspected extremist.

RELATED: France bracing for more protests despite retreat on taxes

The attack came as France has been wracked by four weeks of protests against President Emmanuel Macron, and police forces have been stretched by fighting rioting and other protest-related unrest. Macron himself adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said, indicating the gravity of the attack.

The interior minister and the Paris prosecutor, who is in charge of anti-terror probes in France, headed Tuesday night to Strasbourg. The prosecutor’s office says the investigation is for murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise.

Several of the wounded are in critical condition, Castaner said.

In multiple neighbourhoods of Strasbourg, the French Interior Ministry called on the public to remain indoors. French soldiers were on patrol after the shooting.

“Our security and rescue services are mobilized,” Castaner said.

Local authorities tweeted for the public to “avoid the area of the police station,” which is close to the city’s Christmas market. Strasbourg’s well-known market is set up around the city’s cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market.

European Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch said that “the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice.” It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were inside.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that “my thoughts are with the victims of the shooting …. Strasbourg is like no other a city which is a symbol of peace and European democracy.”

France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.

Some Strasbourg residents have reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city centre.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that “the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers.”

Strasbourg, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Paris, is on the border with Germany.

The drama recalled a millennial terror plot on Strasbourg’s Christmas market that still marks the collective memory. Ten suspected Islamic militants were convicted and sentenced to prison in December 2004 for their role in a plot to blow up the market on New Year’s Eve 2000.

The Algerian and French-Algerian suspects — including an alleged associate of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden — went on trial in October on charges they were involved in the foiled plot for the attack.

They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to nine years.

Sylvie Corbet, Lori Hinnant And Elaine Ganley, The Associated Press

Read more: Trudeau avoids confrontation with Saudi crown prince, Putin during G20 summit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s fourth annual Open Mosque Day

Abbotsford Islamic Centre opens its doors to educate others

Two prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase across Fraser Valley

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Arson charge laid in connection to Mission Canadian Tire fire

Charges of Arson with disregard for human life have been laid against 26-year-old Quince Chalifoux

PHOTOS: Wet’suwet’en supporters gather in Abbotsford

Solidarity march sees group of 50 people walk around Downtown Abbotsford

Another Abbotsford resident defrauded with elaborate phone scam

Thieves steal almost $16,000 from one resident, the tenth known victim in last 5 month

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards release nominations

Ceremony takes place on March 12, which includes a dinner, awards program, and a guest speaker.

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

Most Read