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Strasbourg terror suspect shot dead by police

December 13, 2018

The Strasbourg Christmas market shooting suspect Cherif Chekatt has been shot dead by French police. The jihadi "Islamic State" group says he was one of its militants.

Masked French police officers in Strasbourg's Meinau neighborhood on Thursday evening
Image: Reuters/C. Hartmann

French police have shot dead Cherif Chekatt , who police believe was behind the Strasbourg Christmas market attack that killed three people on Tuesday.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner confirmed Thursday evening that police shot Cherif Chekatt after he fired at them in a street in Strasbourg's Neudorf neighborhood. Authorities said the suspect was armed with a knife and pistol.

Hours after the incident took place, the news agency of the terrorist organization "Islamic State" (IS) said Cherif Chekatt  was an IS miltant, but provided no evidence for the claim.

Multiple arrests

The 29-year-old suspect had been the target of a massive international manhunt, in which 700 officers sought to apprehend him over the course of 48 hours.

Read more: The Strasbourg attack suspect's criminal past in Germany

The killing came at the end of a day of intense police activity that included a number of agents from France's elite RAID tactical unit. 

Earlier in the day a fifth person, who police say was a member of Cherif Chekatt's "entourage," was arrested and taken into custody. Four family members, the suspect's parents and two brothers, have also been detained by authorities in connection with Tuesday's shooting.

Read more: Germany's terrorism watch list: What you need to know

Known to authorities

French investigators are treating Tuesday's Christmas market attack, in which three people died, one person was left brain-dead and at least twelve were injured, as an of terrorism.

Witnesses to the incident told police that the shooter had shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") before he opened fire.

French prosecutors say Cherif Chekatt had been on a state security watch list and that he is believed to have developed extremist religious views while serving multiple prison sentences in France, Germany and Switzerland for non-terrorism offences.

amp, js/bw (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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