A gunman broke through the security cordon of a Christmas market in the city of Strasbourg in France and unleashed terror leaving at least three dead and more than a dozen injured. The incident happened at 8 PM and the assailant went on a rampage in the crowded city center. Police fired at the suspect and it is believed that he has fled into neighboring Germany. This incident is proof that France continues to be in the crosshairs of terrorists.

Telegraph UK reports police have established the identity of the gunman.

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He was born in the city of Strasbourg and his name appears in a security and terror watch list. According to a media report, he was in a prison in Germany until 2017 on charges of theft. Anti-terrorist prosecutors in France have opened an investigation. As a Strasbourg prosecutor remarked - "terrorism has once again struck our soil."

Another attack at Christmas time

The Strasbourg Christmas market is a massive affair and witnesses millions of footfalls every year during the festive season.

Roland Ries, the mayor of Strasbourg, confirmed that the gunman had entered a security zone to carry out the attack. He fired at pedestrians and used his knife. It seems he has several convictions against his name in neighboring countries and has a long criminal record.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner revealed that as a precautionary measure, the level of security threat is raised and border controls reinforced.

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He added that security is also strengthened at other Christmas markets to prevent any similar attack.

In 2015, France faced a number of attacks by ISIS militants in which 240 people lost their lives. There were terror attacks also in parts of Europe during Christmas. Two years back, terrorists drove a stolen vehicle into a crowd in Berlin that killed 11 pedestrians and left 56 injured. They usually selected crowded places to inflict maximum casualties and create panic among the people.

The suspect fled in a taxi

According to the Washington Post, there was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and the law enforcement agencies. Police shot the suspect in the hand and he escaped from the scene in a taxi. The driver gave his description to the police and said he had a handgun and a knife. The taxi driver also mentioned that the man had bragged about some of his recent exploits. That information helped to identify him.

The city of Strasbourg is considered to be a high-profile target.

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Terrorists belonging to the al-Qaeda had planned attacks in 2000. Their targets were the Strasbourg Cathedral and Christmas market on New Year’s Eve. However, timely action taken by German and French authorities foiled the attempt. In 2016, there was a terror attack in Nice on Bastille Day in which dozens died and hundreds were injured. Recently, in Paris, a 20-year-old man stabbed multiple individuals, killed one and injured others before he fell to police bullets.

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