Cherif Chekatt, who attacked Strasbourg’s Christmas market on December 11, has been shot dead by police, France’s interior minister has announced.
A police unit came across Cherif Chekatt in a Strasbourg street and shot him after the suspect opened fire.
Three people have died following the shooting at the Christmas market and several more were seriously injured. Previous reports had said that four people had been killed in the attack.
Cherif Chekatt, 29, had a string of criminal convictions in France and Germany and had become a radical Islamist in jail.
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.
The officers stopped the man, who turned round and fired on the police. Police fired back and “neutralized”the attacker, said Christoph Castaner, who later went to the scene.
Hundreds of French police and security forces had been searching for the gunman.
A large police operation had taken place in Neudorf earlier on December 13, 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.
Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries said that finding Cherif Chekatt meant the worried people of his city would now be able to return to a normal life.
On December 11, at about 20:00 local time, a man opened fire close to the famed Christmas market near Place Kléber, which attracts thousands of visitors.
France’s anti-terror prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, said the man had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) as he opened fire.
The suspect was armed with a gun and a knife and escaped the area after commandeering a taxi, Rémy Heitz said.
As the attacker fled he came into contact with four soldiers, Rémy Heitz said, and began firing at them. The soldiers fired back, apparently hitting him in the arm.
The gunman boasted to the taxi driver that he had killed 10 people, and also said he had been injured during a firefight with soldiers.
Cherif Chakett ordered the taxi driver to drop him near the police station in Neudorf. When he got out of the vehicle, he fired at police officers before escaping.
Cherif Chekatt was born in Strasbourg and was already known to the security services.
The man was the subject of a “fiche S”, a watch list of people who represent a potential threat to national security.
Cherif Chekatt had 27 convictions for crimes including robbery spanning France, Germany and Switzerland, and had spent considerable time in prison as a result.
On December 11, in the morning, police were seeking him 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.
Three people died in the Christmas market attack.
The death of Kamal Naghchband, originally from Afghanistan, was announced on December 13. The father of three died in hospital. His mosque announced that his funeral will take place after Friday prayers.
According to Le Figaro, a retired bank worker aged 61, from Strasbourg, was also killed in the attack.
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.