Christmas market attacker neutralised

French special police forces secure an area during a police operation in the Meinau district after the deadly shooting in Strasbourg, France, December 13, 2018Image copyright

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A police operation was launched in the Meinau area of Strasbourg on Thursday evening

French police have shot dead the man said to have attacked Strasbourg’s Christmas market on Tuesday, the interior minister has said.

Cherif Chekatt had been on the run since the attack.

Three people have died following the shooting at the popular attraction and several more were seriously injured.

Chekatt, 29, had a string of criminal convictions in France and Germany and had become a radical Islamist while in prison.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said three members of the National Police saw a suspicious individual on rue du Lazaret, in the Neudorf area of Strasbourg at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT).

The officers stopped the man, who turned round and fired on the police. They fired back and “neutralised” the attacker, Mr Castaner said.

Hundreds of French police and security forces had been searching for Chekatt.

A large police operation had taken place in Neudorf earlier on Thursday, but ended apparently without results.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the attack. They include Cherif Chekatt’s parents and two of his brothers.

What do we know about the suspect?

According to police, Chekatt was born in Strasbourg and was already known to the security services.

He was the subject of a “fiche S”, a watchlist of people who represent a potential threat to national security.

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Police Nationale (France)

He had 27 convictions for crimes including robbery spanning France, Germany and Switzerland, and had spent considerable time in prison as a result.

Police were seeking him on Tuesday morning in connection with another case, but did not find him at home.

A search of his apartment in Neudorf revealed a grenade, a rifle, four knives – two of which were hunting knives – and ammunition.

Who were the victims of the attack?

The death of Kamal Naghchband, originally from Afghanistan, was announced on Thursday. The father of three died in hospital. His mosque announced that his funeral will take place after Friday prayers.

A retired bank worker aged 61, from Strasbourg, was also killed in the attack, according to Le Figaro.

The third victim is believed to be a Thai tourist who was on holiday with his wife.

Anupong Suebsamarn, 45, has been named by Thai media as one of the dead.

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