Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Paris art exhibit locked down during attack

Paris art exhibit locked down during attack

Paris police had said a security operation was underway in the Champs-Elysees shopping district and urged people to avoid the area.

"I couldn't understand, but I find it really odd that a auto would pass (police) vans and all of a sudden spit fire", Pfister said.

The 33-year-old man, who did not succeed in injuring any officers, was "known to the police and thought to be radicalised", said a source.

Police were seen removing his clothes to checking his body for explosives as the bomb squad were on the scene. "There was a very loud bang followed by 3 "popping" sounds (like gun shots) then silence".

"Security forces have been targeted in France once again", Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, calling the incident an "attempted attack". France is under a state of emergency after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.

France has been on high security alert following a series of terrorist attacks in recent years, including the shooting of a policeman in an Islamic State-claimed attack on a police bus on the Champs Elysees in April.

Anti-terror prosecutors have opened an inquiry. "They took the man out and put him a bit farther away (from the car) on the other side of the road", she said.

The minister used the occasion to explain the continued need for a state of emergency, in place since 2015, and plans to extend it until November 1, to be presented at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

About 20 police vans and several armed police surrounded a man on the ground.

Visitors to an art exhibit of Auguste Rodin's works in central Paris were confined inside the Grand Palais for an hour after the attack.

"We were better off inside than outside", Chrystel said.

Police tell The Associated Press that the suspect is from a suburb of Paris and had been "flagged for links to extremism". But both agreed as the mother said, "unfortunately we now are used to this".

France remains under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists slaughtered 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city.

He added that Monday's incident showed that a new security law "is needed" in France and the measure would "maintain a high security level" beyond the end of the state of emergency.

"The show must go on", the daughter said in English.

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