Strasbourg: At least four people have lost their lives and eleven more sustained gunshot wounds after a “lone gunman” opened fire near a popular Christmas market in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.
Police said the 29-year-old armed man had struck in different places around the city center just before 8 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) on Tuesday.
Witnesses said he had fired a first series of rounds near the market, which attracts millions of tourists every year, before a second round a few meters further on.
“There were gunshots and people running everywhere,” one local shopkeeper told French-language BFM TV television news network. “It lasted about 10 minutes.”
The public prosecutor declared the incident to be “terrorism” and announced an inquiry had been opened into “assassination and attempted assassination.”
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the gunman was on the loose but had already been “identified” as being on a list of “security threats”. He stressed that a manhunt, involving police and soldiers, was underway.Security officials have locked down the center of Strasbourg, asking residents to stay indoors. Restaurants have also been ordered to close and not let customers leave.
The European Parliament, which is currently sitting inStrasbourg, was also sealed off with no-one able to leave or enter thebuilding.