April 2017 Champs-Élysées attack
|April 2017 Champs-Élysées attack|
|Part of Islamic terrorism in Europe (2014–present)|
|Date||20 April 2017
|Target||Police officers on the Champs-Élysées|
|Deaths||2 (including the perpetrator)|
On 20 April 2017, three French National Police officers were shot by Karim Cheurfi, a French national wielding an AK-47 rifle on the Champs-Élysées, a shopping boulevard in Paris, France. One officer, French National Police Captain Xavier Jugelé, was killed and two other French National Police officers and a German female tourist, were seriously wounded. Karim Cheurfi was then shot dead by police. Amaq News Agency, which is linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), claimed the attacker was an ISIS fighter. French police and prosecutors are investigating the attack as terrorism, and have launched a counter-terrorism prosecution.
The attacker was identified as French national Karim Cheurfi, who had an extensive criminal record that included a conviction and a twelve-year prison sentence for an earlier attempt to murder two police officers. Police found a note praising ISIS, along with addresses of police stations, on his body, because the attack took place immediately before the country's 2017 presidential election, media reports commented on its possible influence in the election's tone.
At the time of the shooting, France was on high alert in the wake of the attacks in Paris in November 2015 and in Nice in July 2016, as well as in anticipation of the first round of the 2017 presidential election, which was scheduled in three days. Since 2015, there had been a spate of Islamist terrorist attacks on French police officers, soldiers and civilians, resulting in the deaths of more than 230 people. Two men were arrested in Marseille two days before the shooting, for allegedly planning a terrorist attack.
The attack is understood as part of a shift in ISIS strategy towards encouraging untrained ISIS sympathizers to undertake attacks with crude weapons, caused by improved security in E U countries and by the loss of capacity to direct attacks from and train operatives in the Middle East as ISIS steadily lost territory in Syria.
At about 9:00 pm, Karim Cheurfi drove his vehicle next to a French National Police van, the French National Police officers were guarding the entrance of the Centre Culturel Anatolie, a Turkish cultural centre located at 102 Avenue des Champs-Elysées near the Franklin D. Roosevelt metro station and the Marks & Spencer store. Karim Cheurfi quickly got out of his car and started firing an AK-47 rifle into the van. Three officers were struck, one fatally. Cheurfi then attempted to flee on foot, firing at other people as he did, but was shot and killed by other responding officers. A female German tourist was also injured by "fragments from the shooting".
The Avenue des Champs-Elysées was closed down and civilians were evacuated, on social media, Paris police warned people to stay away from the area and said there was a "police intervention underway". Investigators initially said the incident may have been related to a robbery, but an anti-terror investigation was later launched. A pump-action shotgun, ammunition, two kitchen knives, and shears were found in the gunman's car. Amaq News Agency placed responsibility for the attack on the Islamic State.
The officer who was assassinated was 37-year-old Xavier Jugelé, who was murdered outright by two gunshot wounds to the head, he was one of the officers to respond to the Bataclan theatre during the massacre there in November 2015. Jugelé had been a member of the Paris police force since 2010, and was known as a gay rights activist and member of FLAG, the French association for LGBT police officers. He had been interviewed by the BBC in November 2016 when he visited the Bataclan when it reopened, he also served twice in Frontex to assist in the European migrant crisis in Greece. Jugelé was posthumously promoted to captain and awarded the knighthood of the Legion of Honor, he was eulogized by his civil partner and Etienne Cardiles. President François Hollande, Emmanuel Macron and other dignitaries were at the national ceremony of honor which took place at the Paris Police Prefecture on 25 April 2017. Cardiles later attended the installation of President Emmanuel Macron at the president's invitation. Cardiles married Jugelé posthumously on 30 May.
|Born||31 December 1977
|Died||20 April 2017 (aged 39)
|Cause of death||Shot by police|
|Residence||Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, France|
|Other names||Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki|
Amaq News Agency, which is linked to the Islamic State (ISIS), said the shooter was an ISIS fighter, giving his pseudonym as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki. The claim suggested the attacker was from Belgium. News outlets commented that the timing of the claim was "unusually swift". French police identified the attacker as 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi, born in Livry-Gargan in 1977 and living in Chelles, east of Paris. French prosecutors said that a note praising ISIS fell out of his pocket after he was shot, and that he was carrying addresses of police stations.
At the time of the shooting, Cheurfi was already well known to the DGSI, France's domestic security service, he had an extensive criminal record for violent robberies and a shooting in 2001, in which he shot two police officers when they pulled him over. He wounded one of the officers after grabbing his gun while he was being questioned, he was convicted of attempted murder in 2005 and he was sentenced to twenty years in prison, which was later shortened to fifteen years. Despite a history of violence while behind bars, he was released in October 2015.
He had been detained in February 2017 for allegedly making threats to kill police, but was released due to lack of evidence. No evidence of radicalization was found, and he was never placed on a terror watch list. He was, however, added to a "radicalisation and terror prevention and alert list" created in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, but he was not considered a priority. CNN reported that a source close to the investigation said police had launched a counter-terrorism investigation in March 2017 after learning of his attempts to establish communication with an ISIS fighter. AFP reported that police were aware of an attempt by Cheurfi to buy weapons in early 2016, with the intent of using them to kill French police officers in retaliation for the deaths of children in the Syrian Civil War. His home in Chelles was searched after the attack.
Cheurfi's former lawyer said he was "extremely isolated" and a "psychologically fragile character" whose mental problems were not treated, he added that he never spoke about religion and talked mainly about "how to fill his daily life with video games". Cheurfi had visited Algeria sometime before the shooting, allegedly to get married, this was a breach of his parole, following which he was interviewed by the authorities, though a judge decided not to revoke his probation.
Following Cheurfi's identification, three members of his family were arrested in Chelles in the early morning of 21 April, although investigators believe Cheurfi acted alone and was inspired by ISIS but was not necessarily a member; in January 2018, his father, Salah Cheurfi, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for having made comments of support for terrorism.
President François Hollande called for an emergency security meeting at the Élysée Palace, he later released a statement saying French police suspected the shooting was a terrorist attack. He also stated that the security forces are to handle the situation with "utmost vigilance" to ensure the security of the presidential election.
Following the shooting, US President Donald Trump expressed his condolences to the people of France and said, "[W]e have to be strong and we have to be vigilant." Trump later expressed his belief that the attack would have "a big effect" on the French presidential election.
French presidential election
As the attack happened three days before the first round of the French presidential election, three candidates ended campaign events early as "a mark of respect", with centre-right candidate François Fillon urging others to do the same. This was met with criticism from some other candidates like far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who said the violence should not interfere with the election process, the attack changed the tone of the campaign in its last days.
As the attack occurred during a televised debate among all eleven candidates in the election, fears arose that extremists were hoping to influence the debate's tone, with terrorism and security high priorities for Paris, The Guardian noted that the attack might serve as "ammunition" for right-wing candidates such as National Front leader Marine Le Pen, considered an outlier for her views on stronger border security and the deportation of radicalized foreigners, as well as Fillon.
Bernard Cazeneuve, the French Prime Minister, criticized Le Pen's and Fillon's responses. He accused Le Pen of trying to exploit the shooting for politics and attacked her for demanding further security measures, he explained that she had voted against the government efforts on security previously, referring to her party voting against an anti-terrorism law in 2014 and against beefing up of resources for French intelligence services in 2015. He criticized Fillon's record on security during his term as Prime Minister.
- McAuley, James (23 July 2017). "In France, murder of a Jewish woman ignites debate over the word 'terrorism'". Washington Post. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
- "Paris: French police officer killed in terrorist shooting on Champs Elysées". The Local. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- "Paris shooting: Police officers shot at Champs Elysees days out from French elections". News.com.au. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- McAuley, James; Branigin, William (20 April 2017). "French police come under fire in Paris; three reported shot". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Jarry, Emmanuel; White, Sarah (20 April 2017). "France arrests men suspected of planning attack ahead of elections". Reuters. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Barnes, Julian (25 June 2017). "Bungled Attacks, Small Operations Signal New Phase in Terror". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Ghu, Magalie (21 April 2017). "La vie fauchée de Xavier Jugelé, le policier qui voulait « célébrer la vie et dire non aux terroristes »". La Voix du Nord (in French). Retrieved 26 April 2017.
Jeudi soir sur les Champs-Élysées, il effectuait des tours de sécurisation pour protéger un centre culturel turc situé au numéro 102.
- "Attentat des Champs-Elysées : Xavier Jugelé, un policier engagé qui "protégeait les citoyens"". L'Obs (in French). 25 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
Jeudi 20 avril, Xavier Jugelé, jeune policier de 37 ans, était chargé d'effectuer des tours de sécurisation sur l'avenue des Champs-Elysées, pour protéger un centre culturel turc.
- "Attentat des Champs-Elysées: revivez ces 24 heures qui ont bouleversé la France". La Dépêche (in French). 21 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
L’échange a eu lieu non loin du magasin Marks & Spencer, près de la station de métro Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- Lines, Andy (21 April 2017). "Paris attack terrorist arrested for trying to 'buy guns to kill cops'". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "Policeman and suspected gunman shot dead in Paris 'terror attack'". BBC News. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Chrisafis, Angelique (20 April 2017). "Paris shooting: French policeman killed on Champs-Élysées". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Rubin, Alissa J.; Breeden, Aurelien; Morenn, Benoît (20 April 2017). "Paris Shootout Leaves Police Officer and Gunman Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Saliba, Emmanuelle; Siemaszko, Corky (20 April 2017). "Paris Shooting: One Police Officer Killed, Two Wounded in Champs-Elysees Attack". NBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Cruickshank, Paul; Ellis, Ralph; Bittermann, Jim (20 April 2017). "Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces, source says". CNN. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Keneally, Meghan (20 April 2017). "ISIS claims responsibility for Paris attack that left police officer dead". ABC News. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Magnay, Jacquelin (20 April 2017). "Paris shooting: Two police officers killed". The Australian. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Willsher, Kim (21 April 2017). "French candidates condemn terrorism as officials identify gunman in Paris shooting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- Fedschun, Travis (20 April 2017). "Paris attack: 1 police officer killed, 2 seriously injured in shooting on Champs-Élysées; ISIS claims responsibility". Fox News. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Blaise, Lillia (21 April 2017). "Xavier Jugelé, 37, Officer Killed in Paris, Was Defender of Gay Rights". New York Times. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- Topping, Alexandra (21 April 2017). "Xavier Jugelé: policeman killed in Paris was gay rights activist". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "Solidarité avec la famille et registre de condoléances". FLAG! (in French). 22 April 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- Garnett, Nick (22 April 2017). "Paris attack: 'I met murdered police officer at Bataclan'". BBC World. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- "Fusillade sur les Champs-Elysées: Xavier Jugelé, policier «volontaire» qui voulait «célébrer la vie»". Le Monde (in French). 24 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
Le policier avait notamment participé à des missions au profit de Frontex, l’Agence de surveillance des frontières européennes, en Grèce, pour gérer l’afflux de migrants.
- Jouan, Anne (25 April 2017). "L'hommage de la Nation au policier Xavier Jugelé". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 26 April 2017.
- Morenne, Benoît (25 April 2017). "France Honors Xavier Jugelé, Police Officer Killed in Champs-Élysées Attack". New York Times. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- "À peine investi, Macron veut imposer son tempo". Le Figaro (in French). 14 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- "Etienne Cardiles marié à titre posthume avec le policier tué Xavier Jugelé". L'Express (in French). 31 May 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- Smith-Spark, Laura; Vandoorne, Saskya; Sanchez, Ray (21 April 2017). "Paris shooting casts shadow over final day of French election campaign". CNN. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "ISIS claims responsibility for shooting attack that killed Paris officer". Washington Examiner. Associated Press. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- "Paris shooting: ISIS claims responsibility for attack on police officers". CBS News. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- "French police identify suspect in Champs-Elysees shooting attack". Times of Israel. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "Paris Champs Elysees attack gunman named as Karim Cheurfi". BBC. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "Paris shooting casts shadow over final day of French election campaign". CNN. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "Paris Police Shooting: Attacker Karim Cheurfi Had Long Criminal Record". NBC News. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- Breeden, Aurelien; Nossiter, Adam (21 April 2017). "Trump Says Paris Attack Will Have 'Big Effect' on French Election". New York Times. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- Palazzo, Chiara; Chazan, David (22 April 2017). "Paris attack: who is Karim Cheurfi, the gunman who lived with his mother and was 'let go' by French authorities in February?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "Questions remain over Champs-Élysées attacker's links to IS group". France 24. AFP. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "Paris gunman named as small-time criminal apparently inspired by Islamic State". Washington Post. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "Paris police-killing suspect identified". ABC News. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "Paris shooting marks the latest attack in terror-ravaged France". Fox News. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- "Procès du père du tueur des Champs-Elysées: «L'alcool n'est pas créateur d'idées nauséabondes»". www.20minutes.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-02-27.
- Washington, Angelique Chrisafis David Smith in (21 April 2017). "French police officer killed in shooting". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
- "Paris shooting: Gunman shoots 3 on Champs-Elysees, killing officer". CBS News. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Willsher, Kim (20 April 2017). "Fears that Paris shooting will affect presidental[sic] election as first round looms". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Louet, Sophie; Rose, Michel (20 April 2017). "Paris shooting disrupts French election campaigning". Reuters. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Vinocur, Nicholas (21 April 2017). "Terror Attack Redefines French Presidential Race in Final Dash". Politico. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- Smith-Spark, Laura; Vandoorne, Saskya; Sanchez, Ray (22 April 2017). "Paris Shooting Casts Shadow Over Final Day of French Election Campaign". CNN. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- Samuel, Henry (20 April 2017). "How terrorism in France is having a huge impact on presidential election". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
- Kar-Gupta, Sudip; White, Sarah (21 April 2017). "French PM knocks Le Pen, Fillon stance on security after Paris shooting". Reuters. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "The Latest: Far-left candidate goes on with final event". New York Daily News. Associated Press. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.