Islamic State group says it's behind Paris police attack

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A French policeman has been shot dead and two others wounded in central Paris in an attack carried out days before presidential elections and quickly claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

The Islamic State identified the attacker as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki through its Amaq news agency, according to SITE Intel Group, a USA -based organization that monitors terrorists' activity online.

The attacker opened fire on a police van with an automatic weapon before being killed.

In this image made from video, police attend the scene after an incident on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Thursday April 20, 2017.

On Thursday, speaking after a television appearance, she said she was "deeply angry" as well as sad for the police victims "because not everything is done ... to protect our compatriots".

Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.

The attacker was being investigated over his possible intention to kill police officers, sources close to the investigation said.

Two other officers were seriously wounded in the attack in the popular tourist area in central Paris.

France began picking itself up Friday from another deadly shooting claimed by the Islamic State group, with President Francois Hollande convening the government's security council and his would-be successors in the presidential election campaign treading carefully before voting this weekend.

Reuters reports at least two shooters were involved in the attack, with at least one of them shot dead.

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French interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters the shooting started when a vehicle stopped alongside a stationary police auto.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who campaigns against immigration and Islamic fundamentalism, took to Twitter to offer her sympathy for law enforcement officers "once again targeted".

But the 55-year-old says visitors to the French "were running, running.Some were crying".

Speaking in Washington during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump said the shooting "looks like another terrorist attack" and sent condolences to France.

"Nothing must hamper this democratic moment, essential for our country", Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, appealing for national unity and for people "not to succumb to fear".

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told AP the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station.

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM she heard gunshots and saw a man's body on the ground before police quickly evacuated the area. Belgian authorities said they had no information about the suspect.

News is still pouring in from the incident, and many details will likely be changing and moving as officials work to sort out the situation, but one question is on many people's minds: Was the Paris shooting terrorism?

None of the candidates immediately commented.

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