- Death toll revised back to two, plus 13 injured
- Shooter still at large, over 600 officers, including German police, and soldiers join manhunt
- Witnesses heard shooter shout “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest)
- Four people close to suspect have been detained
- France raises security alert level to “emergency attack”
- Profile of shooter shows he was on terror list and had been previously imprisoned in Germany
French authorities said Wednesday that two people had died and 13 people were injured during a shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg. Initially it was thought the death toll was three.
Witnesses described the gunman's words before the incident, which occurred around 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening. French prosecutor Remy Heitz also described the shooting as a terror attack.
“Terrorism has once again stuck our country,” said Heitz.
Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries said most of the victims were men, including one Thai tourist.
Witnesses said the shooter shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is the greatest) before opening fire.
Over 600 people, including police, troops and helicopters were on the heels of the attacker who had “sowed terror” in the city.
The 29-year-old suspect, who is said to be from Strasbourg, was sentenced to two years and three months for burglaries in the city of Mainz and in the Baden-Württemberg state, and jailed in 2016.
“He served a year in Germany before being expelled to France,” a spokesman from Baden-Württemberg's interior ministry told AFP.
According to the Tagesspiegel newspaper, the man broke into a dentist practice in Mainz, Rhineland Palatinate state, in 2012, making away with cash, stamps and gold used for teeth fillings.
Four years later, he hit a pharmacy in the Lake Constance town of Engen, Baden-Württemberg, pocketing cash.
However he was not deemed potentially dangerous Islamist, German authorities said Wednesday.
“For us, he was a blank slate,” said a spokeswoman of the Federal Criminal Police Office, which takes charge of cases related to terrorism.
An interior ministry spokeswoman also said that there has been no indications suggesting an Islamist link to the suspect.
Still looking for shooter
German authorities were on the lookout for the fugitive “along the Rhine” river region, the ministry spokesman said.
“But at the moment we do not believe that he has crossed into the country,” he added.
The gunman opened fire Tuesday evening at the famed Strasbourg Christmas market, which draws thousands of visitors every year.
Photo: Bing maps
The shooting left two people dead and13 people wounded.
French authorities said the attacker had been on their list of extremists and “is actively being hunted by security forces”.
Meanwhile, German police said they had detained three people in a taxi with French licence plates, after tipoffs given by the public following the Strasbourg attack.
The vehicle was halted on the A1 motorway close to the city Bremen, a police spokesman in Delmenhorst told national news agency DPA.
One of the passengers was masked, according to the report.
There was so far no indications that they were linked to the Christmas market attack, but police were checking the taxi for any suspicious traces and interrogating the three people.
Extra security measures in Germany?