A policeman was shot dead on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on Thursday night in an apparent Isil-inspired terror attack.
The shooting, in which the gunman was also killed, was carried out by a man who was under preliminary investigation for terrorism but “let go”.
The attack raised questions over how yet another Islamist extremist known to police was able to bring terror to the heart of the French capital.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) identified the attacker as one of its soldiers, naming him as Abu Yousif, a Belgian. Police said last night the man had been identified, but his name would not be revealed until investigators determined whether he had accomplices, Reuters reported.
The gunman had recently been detained for questioning in a police station in Meaux, outside Paris, after “informants” had indicated that he was “seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen”, according to reports.
But due to a lack of evidence, anti-terror prosecutors “let him go”.
The 39-year-old gunman was known by intelligence services for radicalisation and had targeted police 16 years ago in a car chase, when he opened fire on officers, according to reports.
During questioning, he managed to get hold of a police weapon and fire five times. The policeman survived, but the man was sentence to several years in prison for the attack.
The shooting came just three days before the first round of the country’s presidential election, and François Fillon, the conservative candidate, last night called for election campaigning to be suspended.