Major attacks in France targeted the Charlie Hebdo magazine in January 2015, sites around Paris including the Bataclan concert hall in November the same year and families at a fireworks display in Nice in July last year. Earlier, French officials said 10,000 people were on their Fiche S list. The French president, Francois Hollande, has come on television saying it is definitely a terrorist attack and is under a terrorist investigation.
French President François Hollande said before ISIS took responsibility that he believes the circumstances of the shooting indicate a terrorist attack.
Witness Chelloug, a kitchen assistant, told Reuters he was walking out of a shop and saw a man get out of a auto and open fire with a rifle on a policeman. Investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in his auto. French television is reporting the attacker had an automatic rifle.
None of the candidates immediately commented.
The two top finishers Sunday advance to a winner-takes-all presidential runoff on May 7.
Though Le Pen and Macron are the front runners, scandal-plagued conservative Francois Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks. A staunch isolationist, Le Pen has gained traction among the French electorate for her desire to secure France's borders.
After Le Pen spoke scathingly Friday of the government's fight against extremism, Cazeneuve said Le Pen's party in 2014 voted against an anti-terrorism law and, in 2015, against a law that beefed up resources for French intelligence services.
"On the face of it, the officers were deliberately targeted", Brandet said. "This must be the priority", he said.
France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of terror alert, with jihadist-inspired assaults killing more than 230 people in recent years. Delivery trucks did their early morning rounds.
"What our attackers want is death, symbolism, to sow panic (and) to disturb a democratic process, which is the presidential election", he said.
In addition to the assault rifle used in the attack, a pump action shotgun and knives were in his auto, the police sources said. Le Pen also claims the rise of Islamic fundamentalism has led to more terror attacks in the country.
"Not everything has been done to protect our citizens".
The incident on the Champs-Elysees, Paris' iconic main avenue, occurred shortly before 9 pm, interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said. The assailant, who fired at officers with a machine gun, was shot dead by police while trying to flee.
Voters also wondered how the latest attack might impact the election.
Police have ordered the people to stay away from the area.
"The perpetrator of the attack in Champs Elysees in central Paris is Abu Yussef the Belgian and he is one of the Islamic State's fighters", said an IS statement published by its propaganda agency Amaq.
Meanwhile, a search was launched at the home of the dead attacker in eastern Paris on suspicion that there was another person involved in the shooting.
The claim came quickly and the naming of the assailant suggested a degree of direct contact with Islamic State.
In February, a man armed with a machete in each hand attacked soldiers on patrol at Paris's Louvre Museum.
- Lawyer: Fox Launching Investigation Into Harassment Claim Against Bill O'Reilly
- Bears smartest draft pick since 2012
- Outlook Groups Coming to Android, iOS and Mac Devices
- Starbucks barista has video meltdown over Unicorn Frappuccino
- Samsung's Bixby in tough challenge to rivals
- Soyuz space capsule carrying American, Russian blasts off
- Euro, stocks rise ahead of French election; bonds fall
- The battle for Mosul
- Arkansas execution drugs intended for surgery, heart issues
- Russian army denies building up forces near North Korea - Ifax