A manhunt is taking place in France as officials search for a gunman who opened fire on the crowded Christmas shopping center in Strasbourg close to the border with Germany. The man was heard yelling Allahu Akbar, which translates to “Allah is great” in Arabic.
The attack left two dead, one brain dead, and a total of 12 individuals receiving wounds. Many of the victims are in critical condition.
According to French police, the suspect in question is Cherif Chekatt, a 29-year-old with a lengthy criminal record in France and Germany. Chekatt has a total of 25 cases against him and is regarded as an “extremist.”
The nation remains on high alert as more than 700 officers are deployed in the manhunt along with an additional 1,800 soldiers that have been given the task of guarding the streets.
Tensions were high as the military managed to corner Chekatt at one point, only to have him escape shortly after.
One onlooker mentions that when the shots were first fired, he wasn’t sure what was taking place. “I heard gunshots outside. I heard like 2 or 3 gunshots at first, which I thought were just firecrackers,” Maurice stated.
Reactions to the shooting were varied, with some recording videos of the area with the gunshots echoing in the background, and others scrambling to take shelter in an effort to protect themselves.
“After the shots started again, there were like between 5 and 10 afterwards. And people started yelling and I could hear crowds running away. That’s when I realized there was actually a shooting going on,” Maurice said.
Store owners secured their shops and residents were instructed to remain indoors, CBN News reports. France also raised its terror-threat level.
Various reports claim that Chekatt was on a watch list and had likely been radicalized during his time in prison.
Only two years ago, another Christmas market in Europe was the site of a terror-fueled tragedy when a truck drove through a Berlin street, taking the lives of 12 people.
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