Karim Cheurfi, 39, killed a police officer and injured two others before dying in a hail of bullets
The ISIS gunman behind last night’s terror attack in Paris is a father recently released from prison for shooting two policemen.
Karim Cheurfi, who killed a police officer before dying in a hail of bullets on the Champs-Elysees, was a French-born 39-year-old with a long history of violent crime.
In 2001, he was jailed for 20 years for shooting two police officers after being caught in a stolen car.
Cheurfi shot one officer and then managed to blast another after stealing his pistol while in custody.
Both victims survived.
Meanwhile an arrest warrant has been issued overnight for a second suspect in the Champs-Elysees shooting – yet to be named publicly – as ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
French media are reporting this morning that the second man being hunted has handed himself into a police station in Antwerp, Belgium.
Cheurfi served 15 years for attempted murder but is believed to have been released in 2016.
Reports of the crime at the time made no mention of Cheurfi having links to Islamic extremism.
But it is believed he had lately been on a terror ‘watch list’.
According to BFMTV, he had boasted of wanting to kill police on the Telegram messaging service.
Other reports claim Cheurfi had recently been detained by police in Meaux, near Paris, after ‘informants’ said he was seeking weapons to kill policemen.
But he was let go due to a lack of evidence, it was said.
Last night, ISIS claimed Cheurfi was a ‘soldier of the caliphate’ and identified him by the nom de guerre (war name) ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’.
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE ADDRESSES THE NATION AFTER PARIS SHOOTING
Cheurfi pulled up in a grey Audi before attacking police officers sat in a van on the Champs-Elysees at around 9pm local time on Thursday evening.
One officer aged 30 was killed and two others were seriously injured before they managed to shoot Cheurfi dead.
A passerby was also injured.
The shocking attack sent dozens of tourists fleeing in tears from one of the most famous avenues in the world.
Prosecutor Francois Molins confirmed: “The identity of the attacker is known and has been verified.”
Within hours, police had raided Cheurfi’s home in Chelles.
He was the registered keeper of the grey Audi used in the attack.
WITNESS DESCRIBES HORRIFIC SHOOTING ON CHAMPS ELYSEES
A raid on his home later found guns and ammunition, said intelligence sources.
A profile on the French social media site ‘Copains’ is believed to belong to Cheurfi.
A profile picture shows him with a child on his shoulders but offered very little else in terms of personal information.
Cheurfi indicated he liked ‘athletics’ and ‘birds’.
Witnesses told how he targeted a parked patrol car full of traffic control officers working to the Paris prefecture.
The officer killed was at the wheel and was having an evening snack at the time of his death.
President Francois Hollande said he was convinced the “cowardly killing” was an act of terrorism.
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