France hunts Muslim terrorist who sprayed gunfire into Christmas market

A 29-year-old with a police record in France and Germany flagged for Islamic extremism opened fire on a Christmas market in Strasbourg.

By World Israel News Staff & Associated Press

France is hunting for the Muslim extremist who sprayed gunfire near the famous Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg, killing four and wounding at least 12.

The government raised the security alert level and sent police reinforcements to Strasbourg where some 250 security forces are searching for the assailant.

The attacker is 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, a man with a police record in France and neighboring Germany who had been flagged for Islamist extremism. A terrorism investigation was opened.

Thai tourist victim

A witness in France has told the BBC that one of the people shot and killed in the city of Strasbourg was a Thai tourist who suffered a head wound and didn’t respond to efforts to revive him.

Peter Fritz said after the gunfire near a Christmas market: “We tried our best to resuscitate him. We applied CPR. We dragged him into a restaurant close by.”

He says the man was in his 30s and his wife appeared to be unharmed but in shock.

Fritz says it took more than 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. He said an emergency doctor advised by telephone “that any further efforts would be futile.”

Fritz said of the victim: “He is still here in this restaurant but we have abandoned all hope for him.”

Mayor calls for life to go on

While authorities urged people in the area to stay inside, Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries told BFM television Wednesday that “life must go on” so that the city doesn’t cede to a “terrorist who is trying to disrupt our way of life.”

However, The Jerusalem Post reports that Strasbourg resident Mendy Amram told Israel Army Radio, “Apart from the media, there is no one here — everyone is scared and locked in their homes.”

Strasbourg is considered one of Europe’s capitals. It’s home to the European Parliament.