3 Dead, 12 Wounded In Strasbourg "Terrorist Attack"; Shooter Reportedly Fled Scene In Taxi

Update 4: Things are only getting stranger as the suspect in Tuesday's shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg remains at large.

FranceInfo is reporting that the injured suspect made his getaway in a taxi that he robbed, which could explain why police have had such a hard time finding him.

The death toll currently stands at three according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, however two police union officials reported four victims earlier. Officials did not explain the conflicting figures.

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Update 3: The primary suspect in the Strasbourg shooting is reportedly still at large more than an hour after initial reports claiming he had been cornered by police. The latest reports indicate that he is still on the run.

Some reports claim they don't know where the suspect is, contradicting earlier reports that he had been cornered.

Meanwhile, some reports suggest that police are investigating the possibility of a second shooter, according to the Telegraph.

According to Strasbourg town hall, another operation is taking place at Place Broglie. "There is a strong suspicion that a second person" may be implicated in the shooting, police sources told Le Figaro.

Though the shooter's identity has yet to be confirmed, screenshots of social media profiles belonging to Cherif Chekatt, whom we identified earlier, are circulating on twitter.

Meanwhile access to two local highways - the A35 and the RN4 - has been cut off and security along Strasbourg's border with Germany has been stepped up.

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Update 2: Agence France Presse reports that the shooter is a 29-year-old robbery suspect who was to be arrested early this morning. When police arrived at his home, they discovered "explosives," according to the Associated Press. The shooter was reportedly born in Strasbourg, and recently wound up on a terror watch list after frequenting the radical Islamist circles in the city.

The AP has confirmed that at least four are now dead. Unconfirmed reports have put the number wounded as high as 14. The wire service also reported that soldiers guarding the market managed to shoot the suspect before he fled.

Police have reportedly cornered the shooter and a shootout is currently underway, according to Reuters. Reports said the assailant used an automatic weapon and a knife.

French newspaper Le Figaro has tentatively identified the shooter as Chérif C, though that is unconfirmed...

A photo of the alleged suspect is circulating on Twitter (though it too is unconfirmed).

The French Minister of the Interior warned that the shootout with the suspect is still ongoing and warned people living nearby not to leave their homes. There have been reports of shots ringing out in Strasbourg.

More horrifying videos from the scene of the shooting are making their way to social media.

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Update 1: According to the latest AFP reports, the shooting which has left at least 2 dead, is being treated as a terrorist attack. According to the French interior minister, the shooter has been identified and, is known to authorities, and was on a terrorist watch list; suspect remains at large; everyone in the Neudorf area warned to stay indoors.

  • *STRASBOURG SHOOTING TREATED AS TERROR ATTACK, 2 DEAD: AFP

  • *STRASBOURG SHOOTING LEAVES AT LEAST 2 DEAD, 11 HURT: AFP

  • *FRENCH INTERIOR MIN SAYS STRASBOURG SHOOTER IDENTIFIED

  • *FRENCH INTERIOR MIN SAYS SHOOTER KNOWN FOR CRIMINAL REASONS

The identified shooter was still at large shortly after 9 p.m., and local police were asking residents in the center of the city to remain inside. The shooting occurred around 8 p.m., news broadcaster LCI reported, citing local security people.

Earlier:

At least two people are dead and nine have been wounded following a shooting near a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg, home to the European Parliament, according to multiple reports. 

The incident reportedly happened close to the world-famous market -which attracts two million tourists a year -  in bustling Place Kleber.

The shooter is said to have fled the scene according to AFP, while police have asked people to stay at home amid the manhunt.

According to local newspaper DNA, the incident is assumed to be a terrorist attack.

After the shooting, the city is now on total lockdown with police armed with machine guns on the street and people taking cover in bars and restaurants. Security officials have cordoned off the market area and all trams have been stopped, according to reports from the scene.

Access to city center was blocked for pedestrians, cyclists and road traffic about three blocks from the Kleber main square near the opera house. Blue emergency-services lights could be seen several hundred meters away at the other end of nearby Place Broglie.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg activated its emergency protocol and was in lockdown with the orders "no one goes in, no one goes out." The parliament was closed, with no one able to leave until further notice, spokesman Jaume Duchsaid in a tweet.

“The shooting happened in front of us,” EU lawmaker Nikos Androulakis said by phone from a cafeteria near the area. “As I was leaving the cafe, I ’ve heard shootings, police took us inside, and we are now in lockdown with lights off. They told us the perpetrators are still at large. There are families, small children in here,” Androulakis said.

As Reuters notes: "France remains on high alert after suffering a wave of attacks commissioned or inspired by Islamic State militants in 2015 and 2016, which killed more than 200 people."

Twitter users have reported a large police presence in the downtown area, while many said they had barricaded themselves inside restaurants and shops. 

The city is currently hosting a meeting of the European Commission. EU Parliament prss officer Emmanuel Foulon tweeted: "Sounds of gunfire in the street #Strasbourg panic in the big street everyone is lying in the restaurant Petards?" followed by "Policemen with submachine guns running down the street" (translated). 

Foulon also reports that the city center has been closed for an indefinite period of time as police search the area. 

The incident echoes past Christmas market attacks in Europe. In 2016, a man drove a truck through a crowd at a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12. 

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