IS: We carried out deadly Champs Elysees attack

Police officers block the access to the Champs Elysees in Paris after a shooting

Police officers block the access to the Champs Elysees in Paris after a shooting

The incident began just before 9 PM local time Thursday on the Champs-Élysées in central Paris, near the Arc de Triomphe, when a gunman jumped out of a auto that had pulled up to a police vehicle, then opened fire, killing a police officer and wounding at least two others.

A still image from video footage shows Police investigators inspect the vehicle 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.

The attack came as French voters prepared go to the polls on Sunday in the most tightly-contested presidential election in living memory.

News is still pouring in from the incident, and many details will likely be changing and moving as officials work to sort out the situation, but one question is on many people's minds: Was the Paris shooting terrorism?

France's anti-terrorism prosecutor says that searches are under way after an attack on police guarding the Champs-Elysees shopping district in Paris.

President Francois Hollande called an emergency Cabinet security meeting in the Elysee Palace, and police were believed to be searching a home in east Paris that belonged to the gunman.

He says counterterrorism authorities are investigating.

"They were running, running", said 55-year-old Badi Ftaïti, who lives in the area.

The BBC reported that security services had known of the gunman, who had talked about his desire to kill police officers on the Telegram messaging service.

A female foreign tourist also was wounded, Molins said.

Emergency vehicles blocked the wide Champs-Elysees, an avenue lined with boutiques and normally packed with cars and tourists that cuts across central Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and the Tuileries Gardens.

A police union Twitter account said the officers were shot while in a auto stopped at a red light.

French President Francois Hollande says he is convinced the circumstances surrounding the attack on Paris police officers points to a terrorist act.

Mr Brandet said that the exact sequence of events was not clear.

Earlier this week, two men were arrested in Marseille who police said had been planning an attack ahead of the election.

The gunman was shot dead by police as he tried to flee on foot, Pierre-Henry Brandet, a French Interior Ministry spokesman, told the BFMTV news channel.

Subway stations in the area were closed off on Thursday night while police secure the scene. "Some were crying. There were tens, maybe even hundreds of them".

The incident recalled two recent attacks on soldiers providing security at prominent locations around Paris: one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man's body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

None of the candidates immediately commented. She canceled a minor campaign stop, but scheduled another.