The gunman who killed three people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg was shot dead by French police on Thursday as the ISIL Takfiri group claimed him as one of its “soldiers”.
More than 700 French security forces had been hunting for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt since the bloodshed on Tuesday night — the latest in a string of Takfiri attacks to rock France.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said three police tried to question Chekatt after spotting him on the street in the Neudorf area of the northeastern French city where he grew up, but he opened fire.
“They immediately returned fire and neutralized the assailant,” Castaner said.
A source close to the investigation said a woman spotted a man fitting Chekatt’s description with a wounded arm on Thursday afternoon and alerted authorities, who sealed off the area and used a helicopter with thermal cameras to hunt for the suspect.
People gathered at the police cordon where Chekatt was shot and applauded, some shouting “bravo!”, a source said.
“It’s really a huge relief,” said Alain Fontanel, a local official in the mayor’s office, describing the anxiety that locals had felt since Tuesday’s attack.
“We didn’t really feel very safe,” one 18-year-old local named Arthur told AFP.