Strasbourg became (11 December) a venue of another terrorist attack that claimed lives of three people, wounding a dozen others. Six of the wounded are in a serious condition. A gunman targeted the Christmas market in this renowned historic French city. The attack began at 8 pm when stallholders were about to close down. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the shooter had fled, raising concerns of a potential follow-up attack.
“The government has raised its security threat to the highest level and is bolstering border controls,” Mr. Castaner said at a news conference. “We will also reinforce security at all Christmas markets to prevent copycat attacks.” The suspect is Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, who was known to the intelligence services as a potential security risk but the motive was the attack was not known. Minister Castaner described the attacker as “a man who was very unfavourably known for criminal activity,” who had been previously convicted by courts in France and Germany, but he did not point to any ties to extremist groups.
While no one has claimed responsibility yet, the US intelligence services monitoring jihadist websites said that the Islamic State supporters were celebrating. The police have stepped up security in the city and the border controls to Germany have been tightened. The European Parliament was placed on lockdown and its president, Antonio Tajani, tweeted that it would “not be intimidated by terrorist or criminal attacks”. In the meantime, French President Emmanuel Macron had a crisis meeting in Paris and tweeted that the “solidarity of the entire nation” was with Strasbourg, the victims and their families.