Paris: French police on Thursday night confronted and fatally shot the man believed to be responsible for killing three people and injuring many more in Strasbourg earlier this week.
The shooting brought to an end a two-day manhunt and providing a moment of relief to France, a nation shaken first by violent protests and then the rampage at a Christmas market.
Cherif Chekatt, inset, was killed in a shootout with police.Credit:AP
The hunt for the suspect, Chérif Chekatt, 29, consumed the work of more than 700 police officers and special investigators searching in and around Strasbourg.
The chase ended when three police officers opened fire on Chekatt, who shot at them as they pursued him in the residential Neudorf neighborhood of Strasbourg, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.
Police used surveillance and other information to track down Chekatt, he said.
The officers "saw an individual walking on the public street, who corresponded to the description" of Chekatt, Castaner said, adding that the man "turned around firing at them, they returned fire and neutralised the assailant."
Earlier Thursday, the government signaled it was worried about the ability of police to handle protests scheduled for Saturday by the Yellow Vest movement in towns, cities and villages around the country, and that it would prefer organisers called them off.
French security officials had determined Chekatt, whom witnesses described as saying "Allahu akbar," or "God is Great," in the course of the Christmas market attack, had terrorist motivations. It was unclear how and when exactly he adopted extremist beliefs, but French authorities said they first detected them during his time in prison. He had a long criminal record.
Among the victims of the attack was a Frenchman who had been out to dinner with his wife in Strasbourg's historic centre, according to news media reports and television interviews with a waiter at the restaurant where they had been eating.
A Thai tourist was also killed, and his wife was injured, according to the Foreign Ministry of Thailand. And an Afghan man, Kamal Naghchband, 44, who had emigrated to France with his wife and three children to escape the Taliban, died on Thursday after being in a coma for two days.
A fourth person was still living, but was described by health officials as brain dead Thursday.
The New York Times
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