Belfast Telegraph

Strasbourg shooting: Two killed, 11 injured, gunman 'on the run' - NI MEPs streets away from incident

Police, firefighters and emergency services intervene on Place Gutenberg after a shooting on December 11, 2018 in Strasbourg, eastern France. (Photo by Patrick HERTZOG / AFP)PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images
Police, firefighters and emergency services intervene on Place Gutenberg after a shooting on December 11, 2018 in Strasbourg, eastern France. (Photo by Patrick HERTZOG / AFP)PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images
Rescuers walk in the streets of Strasbourg, eastern France, after a shooting breakout, on December 11, 2018. (Photo by Murielle KASPRZAK / AFP)MURIELLE KASPRZAK/AFP/Getty Images
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson has said she was in the centre of Strasbourg when gun shots went off saying there was a panic in the city with people including young children running for their lives.

The UUP MEP Jim Nicholson said he and his team were safe while the DUP's Diane Dodds was at a restaurant near the scene. She said police had entered the premises and they were waiting for the area to be declared safe.

"Terrible incident," she tweeted.

In a statement the prefect of France's Bas-Rhin region confirmed that two people had died, seven were in a serious condition and four others had been injured.

The public has been urged to stay indoors saying a "serious public security incident" was ongoing.

President Emmanuel Macron cut short an engagement to be briefed on the incident.

The incident happened close to a Christmas market in one of the city's central squares, Place Kleber.

Security cordons are in place.

Local authorities in the Grand-Est and Bas-Rhin region tweeted for the public to "avoid the area of the police station", which is close to the city's Christmas market.

Police in Germany have said they are strengthening controls at the Franco-German border near Strasbourg.

The police force of Baden-Wurttemberg, a state in south-west Germany bordering Strasbourg, tweeted they were taking the extra measures at the border because of the shooting.

The city is home to the European Parliament.

The Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said she was in the centre of the town when she heard shots.

"My thoughts & prayers with all who are injured," tweeted Ms Anderson.

She said the incident had shocked the city.

"I was in the city centre at the time and heard the gunfire and people, including young children, running away in panic," she said.

"This incident has caused panic in the area with crowds of people out enjoying the Christmas markets.

"Details of the incident are still emerging but my thoughts are with those injured and all of those caught up in this incident."

Yorkshire and Humber MEP Richard Corbett said on Twitter that he was in a restaurant in the city "where shots (were) fired". He said the restaurant was "not letting anyone in or out".

The European Parliament has been put on lockdown.

Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, wrote on Twitter: "The police informed me tonight of a shooting in Strasbourg with possibly one victim and several wounded.

"The perpetrator is still on the run.

"This is a serious incident and I advise all staff and visitors to stay at home or indoors for the moment."

Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the oldest in Europe with 300 wooden chalets set up in the city's historic centre from November 23 to Christmas Eve.

One of the biggest Christmas trees in Europe is put up in Place Kleber, the largest square in the city, which was named after French general Jean-Baptiste Kleber who was born in Strasbourg in 1753.

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