On Thursday, a lone gunman wreaked havoc on Paris’ most famous road, killing a police officer and injuring two others on the Champs-Élysées before the police could shoot him down. According to eyewitnesses, the gunman fired at officers stationed in front of a corner store with an AK-47 assualt rifle. ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and identified the shooter as a Belgian who went by Abu Yusu al-Baljiki. The French police is in the middle of a terrorism investigation, although they have not confirmed the true identity of the shooter or ISIS’ other claims yet. However, they have let on that the shooter was previously monitored by French investigative angecies because of radical Islamist links in his past. In the aftermath of the attack, police sealed off the famous boulevard, closed nearby metro stations and forced tourists to remain on lockdown inside their hotels.
The incident comes at an important time in French history, as there are only three days left before voting begins on the first round of the presidential election. Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front Party and a popular figure among the supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, has used the attack as another reason behind her platform of intensifying the fight against Islamist extremism. Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, the two other leading candidates in the race, are trying to fight the fearmongering attitude that the far right has taken to in the campaign so far. “We must not yield to fear today. This is what our assailants are waiting for, and it’s their trap,” Macron said. Fillon went as far as to call for a delay in the election: “We must show our solidarity with the police and the French population… The fight against Islamist totalitarianism must be the top priority.”