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French Police Search For Suspect in Deadly Strasbourg Shooting

A massive manhunt is underway in France for the gunman who killed three people and wounded 13 others in an attack at the Christmas market in the center of Strasbourg.

French officials deployed hundreds of security forces Wednesday in the search after the suspect escaped from the market following the shooting Tuesday night.

France raised its security threat level to “emergency attack,” adding tighter border controls while security is boosted at other Christmas markets.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner traveled to Strasbourg to open a terror investigation, but the gunman’s motive was unknown.

Authorities have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt and said he was on a watch list of suspected extremists.

Police went to his home earlier in the day Tuesday in connection with a murder investigation, but he was not there at the time.

A witness told reporters that one of those killed in the attack was a tourist from Thailand who was shot in the head and did not respond to emergency treatment.

Strasbourg is headquarters of the European Parliament. The building was put on temporary lockdown after the shooting.

The market is set up around the Strasbourg cathedral and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Authorities say they have long been on the alert for an attack on the market since a foiled a terror plot in Strasbourg on New Year’s Eve, 1999.

France is no stranger to extremist attacks. Islamic State claimed responsibility for two nights of bombings and shootings in Paris in November 2015, killing 130, months after a deadly shooting at a French satirical magazine and hostage taking in a kosher supermarket.

A terrorist truck attack in Nice in 2016 left 86 dead.

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