French presidential candidates halt campaigns in wake of Paris attack
French presidential candidates halt campaigns in wake of Paris attack
21 Abril, 2017, 20:01
Should Macron rank first or second in Sunday's poll, he is seen easily winning the run-off vote on May 7 after remaining candidates are eliminated.
He vowed that, if elected, he would within weeks of taking power create a task force to coordinate French intelligence efforts against the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for Thursday night's attack. A truck ploughed into people in Nice on Bastille Day previous year killing more than 80 people while coordinated attacks across Paris including the Bataclan concert hall claimed about 130 lives in November 2015.
The attack unfolded on the famed Champs-Elysees around 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) when a auto stopped in front of a police van, according to French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet.
A French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in Thursday night's attack in central Paris.
The men were said to be French nationals who had been radicalised and were believed to have links to IS.
But French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Le Pen was seeking "to exploit fear without any shame".
French officials say the two police officers injured on the Champs-Elysees by a gunman who killed one of their colleagues are both out of danger.
In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the group gave a pseudonym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating he was Belgian or had lived in Belgium. Belgian authorities said they had no information about the suspect. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies.
Earlier this week French authorities arrested two men in Marseille who were allegedly planning an attack in a run-up to the election.
The attack appeared to fit a spreading pattern of European extremists targeting security forces and symbols of state to discredit, take vengeance or destabilize society.
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Three of 11 presidential candidates have halted campaigning after the shooting, which came three days before French voters go to the polls.
The paper also reported that Macron's chief rival for the presidency, National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, would not campaign Friday out of respect for the victims. "It will require an unyielding determination and a cool head". "Anyone who pretends (otherwise) is both irresponsible and deceitful", he said on RTL Radio.
French police say thieves stole a computer and a police armband from a auto used by aides to presidential candidate Francois Fillon.
Fillon separately pledged to maintain the state of emergency that has been in place since IS-claimed gun and bomb attacks killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015.
But even leaving out the potential impact on voter sentiment of the latest deadly attack in a series that has hit France in the past two years, neither was totally assured a spot in the May 7 runoff round. She canceled a minor campaign stop, but scheduled another.
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