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Paris shooting: One police officer killed, two injured near Champs Elysee

  • Police officer shot dead, two seriously wounded
  • Attacker with automatic weapon killed
  • French prosecutors open terrorism investigation
  • Islamic State extremist group claims responsibility for the attack

A police officer has been killed and two others seriously injured in a shooting near the Champs Elysee in central Paris.

A gunman with an automatic weapon was shot dead in the attack. Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said that an attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station on Thursday night at the centre of the avenue popular with tourists.

The French Interior Ministry said the attack deliberately targeted police officers guarding the area.

Spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle.

Mr Brandet said the police officers were "deliberately" targeted.

He said it was too early to say whether the attacker might have had an accomplice, and said authorities were studying multiple potential motives.

Many police vehicles could be seen on the avenue that passes many of the city's most iconic landmarks.

A French government spokesman said the attacker used a "war weapon" to fire on the officers.

French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. He said officers were "deliberately" targeted.

Read more: IS: We carried out deadly Champs Elysees attack

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man's body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

A heavy police presence in Rue De Rivoli was reported earlier in the day.

Police are warning people to avoid the area and the surrounding streets have been cordoned off.

French prosecutors said they have now opened a terrorism investigation into the attack.

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

The incident recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris, one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

The shooting comes just a few days before France’s presidential election.

Candidates have expressed solidarity with police forces following the shooting.

France's president Francois Hollande said he was convinced the circumstances surrounding the attack on the police officers pointed to a terrorist act and has convened a National Defence and Security Council to meet on Friday morning.

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