By Hajer M’tiri
PARIS (AA) - Police arrested three people overnight following the killing of a police officer on Paris’ Champs-Elysees, local media reported Friday.
Citing prosecutors, broadcaster BFMTV said the three suspects were family members of the man who shot a male officer as he sat in a police bus on Thursday evening. They were arrested in an eastern suburb of the city.
Investigators said they had identified the gunman from identity documents found in his car but did not name the 39-year-old French national.
BFMTV reported that a pump-action shotgun and knives had been found in his car.
The attacker was killed after opening fire on the police vehicle with what witnesses described as a Kalashnikov assault rifle at around 9 p.m. local time (1900GMT) and attempting to flee.
Two police officers were injured in the assault, one of whom remains in hospital.
The attack came less than three days before French voters were due to go to the polls in presidential elections.
Three of the main candidates in Sunday’s poll called off planned events on Friday, the final day of campaigning.
- Daesh claim
According to French media, the attacker was known to anti-terror police and had been arrested in February on suspicion of plotting to kill officers. He was released due to a lack of evidence.
He was also reported to have served several years in prison for shooting at police officers in the early 2000s.
Daesh claimed the attacker was one of its members in a statement on the Amaq news outlet.
Meanwhile, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told state broadcaster VRT that Belgian police had become involved in the investigation but that the perpetrator was a French national.
Belgium also notified French security services that a potential suspect had turned himself in to police. However, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said it was “too early to say” if the man who surrendered in Belgium was involved.
The November 2015 Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed, were largely carried out by French and Belgian nationals.
Speaking after a security meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve condemned the attack as an act of “barbarity and cowardice”.
He said election security measures has been reviewed and “fully mobilized”. The Interior Ministry earlier said 50,000 officers will be stationed at the country’s 67,000 polling stations.