French police have shot dead the terrorist who attacked a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday evening, authorities have confirmed. A police unit found him, and returned fire after he began shooting at the officers in a Strasbourg street on Thursday night.
Three police officers saw a man who matched the description of the attacker on Rue Du Lazaret, in the Neudorf district of Strasbourg, near where police found grenades at his home, which was raided on the morning of the attacks.
They approached the man to question him, but the suspect turned round and opened fire. Police fired back and “neutralised” the attacker, said Christophe Castaner, the Interior Minister for France, who later went to the scene.
The terrorist has been named as Cherif Chekatt, who was born in Strasbourg but had lived in Germany, before they deported him. He is known to have a string of criminal convictions, and it is alleged that he became a radical Islamist in prison.
A wanted poster was released on Wednesday, asking for information, and went on the say that police wanted him dead or alive. He was on a watch list known as “fiche S”, which is for people who pose a potential national security thread.
Who were the victims?
Three people are known to have died, with more injured in the shooting. Kamal Naghchband, a mechanic originally from Afghanistan was announced on Thursday. The father of three will have a funeral at his mosque following Friday prayers. His cousin told AFP news agency that he was visiting the market with his family, and was shot in the head.
A Strasbourg born 61-year old was also killed. He was a retired bank worker, and has yet to be named.
The third victim was a Thai tourist, named in the media of his home country as Anupong Suebsamarn, 45-years old. He had been visiting Strasbourg on holiday with his wife. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha sent a letter of condolence to French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, confirming the man was among the dead.
Chekatt’s apartment was raided on Tuesday morning before the attack as French police investigated a robbery in the area. In his flat, a search revealed a grenade, a rifle, two hunting knives, and ammunition.
Islamic State’s own news agency, Amaq, reported on Thursday that Chekatt was an “Islamic State soldier” who had “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of coalition countries” fighting its militants in Syria and Iraq.