The terrorist who committed the shooting at the Strasbourg Christmas market has been neutralized, with ISIS claiming responsibility for the attack. Their claim may just a false one, borne of the need to maintain a presence of fear in the minds of non-adherents, but this raises a bigger problem of how to stop these kinds of ideas from circulating in European society.
The gunman who killed three people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg was shot dead by French police on Thursday as the Islamic State jihadist group claimed him as one of its ‘soldiers’.
More than 700 French security forces had been hunting for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt since the bloodshed on Tuesday night — the latest in a string of jihadist attacks to rock France. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said three police tried to question Chekatt after spotting him ‘wandering’ through the streets in the Neudorf area of the northeastern French city where he grew up, but he opened fire. “They immediately returned fire and neutralized the assailant,” Castaner said.
People gathered at the police cordon where Chekatt was shot and applauded, some shouting ‘bravo!’, a source said. The propaganda wing of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack. “The perpetrator of the attack in the city of Strasbourg… is one of the soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls to target nationals of the coalition’ against IS,” the Amaq agency said in a message posted on Twitter.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that the Strasbourg Christmas market would reopen on Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed ‘the solidarity of the whole country’ towards the victims as he arrived for a European summit in Brussels. “It is not only France that has been hit… but a great European city as well,” he added, referring to the seat of the European parliament in the eastern French city that lies on the border with Germany.