PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the shooting on Paris' Champs Elysees that 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 indicating he was Belgian.
The attacker opened fire on a police van on the avenue before being killed.
The claim of responsibility came unusually swiftly for the group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria.
And the pseudonym, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, indicated that the attacker already had ties of some sort to Islamic State extremists.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted officers guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the shopping avenue popular with tourists. She said he appeared to be acting alone.
Police and soldiers sealed off the area, ordering tourists back into their hotels and blocking people from approaching the scene.
The Paris prosecutor's office said counterterrorism investigators are involved in the probe. Two police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said the attacker had been flagged as an extremist. They had no other details about him.
The attack came three days before the first round of balloting in France's tense presidential election. Security is high preceding the vote after police said they arrested two men Tuesday in what they described as a thwarted terror attack.
In tonight's attack, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. He said officers were "deliberately" targeted.