French police try to catch Christmas market attack suspect dead or alive

Four Dead, 11 Shot Near Strasbourg Christmas Market

The attack left 13 others wounded, including five in serious condition, the prefecture of the Strasbourg region said.

A massive manhunt is under way for Cherif Chekatt after the shooting which left 12 people injured and another brain dead.

Holiday festivities in the ancient city of Strasbourg took a grim turn Tuesday night, as a gunman opened fire on the annual Christmas market and and French soldiers and police.

Authorities said a taxi driver dropped Chekatt off Tuesday evening in the Neudorf neighborhood, south of the eastern French city's center, after the shooting near a Christmas market.

Mr Castaner said: "Three hundred and fifty police and gendarmes are now on the ground to apprehend the suspect, supported by two helicopters, the RAID (French anti-terror police), the BRI (anti-gang brigade) and the Sentinel force".

French investigators call them the "gangster-jihadists" - young men, often from poor immigrant backgrounds, who start with petty crime, drug dealing and robbery and graduate to terrorism...

"The government has raised its security threat to the highest level and is bolstering border controls". Chekatt used a handgun and a knife to kill people, Paris Prosecutor Remy Heitz said.

Officers said he had shot at soldiers patrolling as part of the nationwide Operation Sentinelle, reportedly injuring one of them.

French authorities said Chekatt, born in Strasbourg, had run-ins with the law starting at age 10 and his first conviction was at age 13.




He fled the scene and has not been found since.

A French police official said security forces, including the elite Raid squad, took action based on a "supposition only" that Chekkat could be hiding in a nearby building but the operation ended without any news of his capture.

A man who had been flagged as a possible extremist sprayed gunfire near the city of Strasbourg's famous Christmas market Tuesday, killing three people, wounding 12 and sparking a massive manhunt.

Local schools will be open Wednesday, but parents will also have the option to keep their children at home, Castaner said, adding that extra security will be patrolling streets and Christmas markets.

Neighbours living on the housing estate where Chekatt family's lived described the suspect as a typical young man who dressed in jogging trousers and trainers rather that traditional Islamic robes.

Mrs Riches said: "I had arranged to meet three colleagues for dinner because we don't see each other that often". They were not wounded but they suffered shock.

The Europhonica radio consortium said Antonio Megalizzi, 28, was in Strasbourg to follow the session of the European Parliament.

Strasbourg resident Tassia Konstantinidis said "it's important to have a period of mourning and to remember the victims".

The shooting spree comes as French leader Emmanuel Macron faces the biggest crisis of his presidency after three weeks of anti-government demonstrations sparked by fuel tax rises.

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