Monitoring Desk: An armed man, who had killed three people and wounded several others in Strasbourg’s Christmas market on Tuesday last, has been finally shot and killed by French police, the interior minister has said.
A police unit came across suspect Cherif Chekatt in a Strasbourg street and shot him after he opened fire.
Chekatt, 29, had a string of criminal convictions in France and Germany and had become a radical Islamist in jail.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said three members of the National Police saw a suspicious individual on rue du Lazaret, in the Neudorf area of Strasbourg at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT).
The officers stopped the man, who turned round and fired on the police. They fired back and “neutralised” the attacker, said Mr Castaner, who later went to the scene.
Hundreds of French police and security forces had been searching for Chekatt.
A large police operation had taken place in Neudorf earlier on Thursday, but ended apparently without results.
Five people have been arrested in connection with the attack. They include Cherif Chekatt’s parents and two of his brothers.
Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries said that finding Chekatt meant the worried people of his city would now be able to return to a normal life.
At about 20:00 local time (19:00 GMT), a man opened fire close to the famed Christmas market near Place Kléber, which attracts thousands of visitors.
France’s anti-terror prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, said the man had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) as he opened fire.
The suspect was armed with a gun and a knife and escaped the area after commandeering a taxi, Mr Heitz said.
As he fled he came into contact with four soldiers, Mr Heitz said, and began firing at them. The soldiers fired back, apparently hitting him in the arm.
The attacker boasted to the taxi driver that he had killed 10 people, and also said he had been injured during a firefight with soldiers.
He ordered the taxi driver to drop him near the police station in Neudorf. When he got out of the vehicle, he fired at police officers before escaping.
Who was the suspect?
Chekatt was born in Strasbourg and was already known to the security services.
He was the subject of a “fiche S”, a watchlist of people who represent a potential threat to national security.
He had 27 convictions for crimes including robbery spanning France, Germany and Switzerland, and had spent considerable time in prison as a result.
Police were seeking him on Tuesday morning in connection with another case, but did not find him at home.
A search of his apartment in Neudorf revealed a grenade, a rifle, four knives – two of which were hunting knives – and ammunition.
Who were the victims of the attack?
The death of Kamal Naghchband, originally from Afghanistan, was announced on Thursday. The father of three died in hospital. His mosque announced that his funeral will take place after Friday prayers.
A retired bank worker aged 61, from Strasbourg, was also killed in the attack, according to Le Figaro.
The third victim is believed to be a Thai tourist who was on holiday with his wife.
Anupong Suebsamarn, 45, has been named by Thai media as one of the dead.