French police officers patrol in the streets front of flowers to pay respects of the victims following an attack killing three persons and wounding at least 13, in Strasbourg, eastern France, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

French security forces were trying to catch the suspected Strasbourg gunman dead or alive, an official said Thursday, two days after an attack near the city’s Christmas market.

Local authorities, meanwhile, increased the death toll to three. The attack wounded 13 others, including five in serious condition, the prefecture of the Strasbourg region said.

RELATED: France shooting – 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

More than 700 officers were involved in the manhunt for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, who had been flagged for extremism, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews television.

Prosecutors have opened a terror investigation into Tuesday’s attack.

Police have distributed a photo of Chekatt, who was wounded in an exchange of fire with security forces, with the warning: “Individual dangerous, above all do not intervene.”

The government raised the terror alert level nationwide and deployed 1,800 additional soldiers across France to help patrol streets and secure crowded events.

Griveaux also called on the “yellow vest” protesters not to take to the streets, as some members of the movement have planned a fifth round of demonstrations on Saturday across France to demand tax relief.

Strasbourg was in mourning, with candles lit and flowers left at the site of the attack. The Christmas market was closed at least through Thursday, authorities said.

RELATED: Suspected gunman named, had long police record

On Wednesday evening, people prayed and sang in the nearby Protestant Church Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune.

Pastor Philippe Eber said this is a moment “to think of those who died in this city because of violence. We also are thinking about all of those who weep for them, the families.”

Strasbourg resident Tassia Konstantinidis said “it’s important to have a period of mourning and to remember the victims.”

The dead included a Thai tourist, 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said one Italian was among the wounded, in critical condition. The Europhonica radio consortium said Antonio Megalizzi, 28, was in Strasbourg to follow the session of the European Parliament.

French authorities said that the suspect, born in Strasbourg, had run-ins with police starting at age 10 and his first conviction was at age 13.

Chekatt had been convicted 27 times, mostly in France but also in Switzerland and Germany, for crimes including armed robbery. He had been flagged for extremism and was on a watch list.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Big Beach parties spark concern in Ucluelet

“You find needles, left over party debris, bottles and still burning fires.”

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Most Read