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French security forces fully mobilised to protect elections after Paris shooting-PM

French security forces fully mobilised to protect elections after Paris shooting-PM

A bullet hole is pictured on a shopwindow of the Champs Elysees boulevard in Paris, Friday, April 21, 2017.

One police officer is dead and two seriously wounded after a shooting on Paris' famous Champs Elysees, in an incident that left one attacker dead.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday - before the shootout in which the attacker also died and two other police officers were injured.

According to French media, the attacker was known to anti-terror police and had been arrested in February on suspicion of plotting to kill officers.

The risk for the main presidential candidates is misjudging the public mood by making an ill-perceived gesture or comment. Under French election rules, Friday was due to be the final day of campaigning before Sunday's first round of voting.

Security has been tight in France, coming just days before the first round of the presidential election on Sunday.

Municipal workers in white hygiene suits were out before dawn to wash down the sidewalk where the assault took place - a scene now depressingly familiar after multiple attacks that have killed more than 230 people in France over two years. Everything would have seemed normal if not for a row of TV trucks parked along the boulevard that is a must-visit for tourists.

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French president Francois Hollande said he was convinced the circumstances of the attack pointed to a terrorist act.

The attacker was killed after opening fire on the police vehicle with what witnesses described as a Kalashnikov assault rifle at around 9 p.m. local time (1900GMT) and attempting to flee.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Once again the police family is in mourning and it serves to underline how courageous officers are putting their life on the line day in and day out to protect the public".

He killed one police officer, wounded two more and also hit a passer-by. The Islamic State group claims responsibility for the attack carried out by a jihadist with a prior terrorist conviction.

In a statement from its Amaq news agency, IS group gave a pseudonym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating he was Belgian or had lived in Belgium. He says counterterrorism authorities are investigating.

Investigators searched a home early Friday in an eastern suburb of Paris believed linked to the attack.

Police tape surrounded the quiet, middle-class neighbourhood as residents expressed their dismay at the searches. He was also convicted in 2003 of attempted homicide in the shootings of two police officers.

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Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a auto and opened fire on a police vehicle. "Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".

Security forces are more widespread in Paris since deadly Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, and France remains under a state of emergency.

Because voters are dissatisfied with the choice of candidates, abstention was expected to reach a record high of close to 30 per cent. Commentators have speculated that a "citizens' reflex" comparable to that which brought millions of protestors onto French streets after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015 could increase participation on Sunday.

Conservative contender Francois Fillon, who has campaigned against "Islamic totalitarianism", said on France 2 television that he was canceling his planned campaign stops Friday. She canceled a minor campaign stop, but scheduled another.

Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron appealed to French voters to keep a cool head.

Socialist Benoit Hamon tweeted his "full support" to police against terrorism. Sunday's round of voting will be followed by a second-round runoff on May 7 between the top two candidates.

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