Paris shooting: ISIS claims responsibility for attack on police officers; suspect ID'd

Last Updated Apr 20, 2017 10:15 PM EDT

PARIS -- The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the shooting on Paris’ Champs-Elysees in which a gunman killed a police officer and left two others gravely wounded.

In a statement from its Amaq news agency, the group gave a pseudonym for the shooter, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicating he was Belgian or had lived in Belgium. Belgian authorities said they had no information about the suspect. ISIS described the shootings as an attack “in the heart of Paris.”

The attacker had been flagged as an extremist, according to two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the investigation. 

The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria.

Police have searched a home in a suburb east of Paris believed linked to the attack on police on the Champs-Elysees.

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This photo, provided by the AP on the condition that its source not be revealed, shows Karim Cheurfi.

A police document obtained by the Associated Press identifies the address searched in the town of Chelles as the family home of Karim Cheurfi.

Two police officials told the AP that the chief suspect in Thursday’s attack is a 39-year-old from an eastern Paris suburb.

Police tape surrounded the quiet, middle-class neighborhood in Chelles early Friday, and worried neighbors expressed surprise at the searches.

Archive reports by French newspaper Le Parisien say that Cheurfi was convicted of attacking a police officer in 2001.

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A still image from video footage shows Police investigators inspect the car used by the attacker on the Champs-Elysees Avenue after two policemen were killed and another wounded in a shooting incident in Paris, France, on Thu., April 20, 2017.

Reuters

Officials say the suspect opened fire with a Kalashnikov -- which is another name for the AK-47.

CBS News spoke with a tourist who witnessed the shooting and said a man started shooting at police and seconds later police returned fire and he went down.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor says that searches are under way and three police officials say at least one location in the eastern Paris suburbs was being searched early Friday.

French President Francois Hollande held a press conference after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

He said the entire area is on lockdown and a full investigation will be carried out to figure out the motive. Hollande said he is convinced the circumstances of the shooting points to a terrorist act.

The president said a bystander was shot and sent condolences to the families of the victims. He announced there will be a national tribute on Friday as well as a security cabinet meeting.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said counterterrorism investigators are involved in the probe.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said that police officers killed the attacker. He said one police officer was killed and two others were seriously injured and hospitalized.

Brandet says while witnesses have described only one gunman, the possibility of accomplices can’t be ruled out.

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Police officers secure the area after a gunman opened fire on Champs-Elysees on Thu., April 20, 2017 in Paris, France.

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CBS News’ Elizabeth Palmer contributed to this report.