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Strasbourg Christmas market attack: French police launch operation in area where gunman was last seen

Strasbourg Christmas market attack: French police launch operation in area where gunman was last seenA police operation was underway Thursday in the Strasbourg neighborhood where the suspected gunman in an attack near a popular Christmas market that killed three people last was seen. One French police official said security forces, including the elite Raid squad, took action based on "supposition only" that the suspect, Cherif Chekatt, 29, could be hiding in a building nearby two days after the attack. The official could not be identified because he was not authorised to disclose details on the investigation. Authorities said a taxi driver dropped Chekatt off in the Neudorf neighborhood of Strasbourg on Tuesday evening after the shooting that also wounded 13 people. The suspect also was wounded while exchanging fire with security forces, officials said. More than 700 French security forces have been trying to trace Chekatt since the bloodshed on Tuesday, when he is suspected of shooting and stabbing shoppers at the city's popular annual market. The fugitive Strasbourg gunman had an Osama bin Laden poster in his prison cell a decade ago and said he shot victims at point-blank range to "avenge brothers in Syria" and to kill "infidels", French reports said on Thursday. The revelations came as French authorities said they would take prime suspect Chekatt dead or alive, as a massive manhunt continued in the eastern French city and the surrounding region, as well as across the nearby border with Germany.  "It doesn't matter [if he is taken alive]. The best thing would be to find him as quickly as possible,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews. France on Wednesday night issued a wanted poster of the 29-year old local who has 27 previous convictions for theft and armed robbery and served sentences in French, German and Swiss jails. The poster of Chekatt, who was wounded in an exchange of fire with security forces, included the warning: "Individual dangerous, above all do not intervene." Wanted posted issued by French security forces Credit: Police Nationale At least five of the victims of his Tuesday night killing spree remain in a serious condition.  More than 700 police were on Thursday engaged in the manhunt in eastern France, amid reports German police had launched a raid near the French border in Kehl. Witnesses told investigators that he shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greater) as he opened fire on the Christmas market, frequented by two million people every year. The photo shows a bearded man of North African descent with a blemish on his forehead due to frequent prayer. French authorities have said that Chekatt was placed on a terror watch list in 2015 and had been monitored closely in recent months. However, according to Le Monde, he had slapped a picture of late al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden on his prison wall as early as 2008, when he was 19 years old. “His radicalisation dates from before his time in prison,” a source close to the investigation told the paper. Some 720 police and gendarmes are hunting Cherif Chekatt, 29, who vanished after a gun attack Credit: Christophe Ena/AP Two years later, in 2010, he actively sought to proselytise other inmates and threatened them if they were not assiduous enough, it said. According to Le Parisien, he told a taxi driver he forced to drive him out of Strasbourg's city centre on Tuesday at gunpoint that he had killed his victims at point blank range in the head to avenge “brothers in Syria” and to punish “infidels”. The driver only escaped with his life because he had signs that he was a practicing Muslim in the car. Strasbourg's famed Christmas market remained shut on Thursday while the gunman is still at large Credit:  Christophe Ena/AP Police have set up checkpoints on the German border and questioning the suspect's entourage, including his parents and two brothers. Two of his 12 siblings are reportedly on a terror watchlist. As the manhunt continued, the French government called on members of a nation-wide “yellow vest” revolt against high taxes and low purchasing power to stop or at least suspend their protests to allow French security forces to focus on the terror threat. President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced tax concessions to quell the month-long public revolt that sparked the worst riots in central Paris since the 1968 student riots. Mr Griveaux said authorities had not yet decided whether to ban another planned "yellow vest" protest in Paris after three consecutive Saturdays of violence in the capital. "We're simply saying at this stage that, given the events that are unfolding after the terrorist attack in Strasbourg, it would be preferable if everyone could go about a Saturday before the festive holidays in a quiet way,” he said.    

POSTED DECEMBER 13, 2018 10:42 AM

Stacey Abrams Says She’ll Run Again After Losing Fierce Battle For Georgia Governor

Stacey Abrams Says She’ll Run Again After Losing Fierce Battle For Georgia GovernorStacey Abrams is not done yet.

POSTED DECEMBER 12, 2018 12:53 AM

Palestinians offer new details of Israel's botched Gaza raid

Palestinians offer new details of Israel's botched Gaza raidGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The small town of Abassan in the Gaza Strip is a tough place to infiltrate — everyone knows everyone else and outsiders passing through quickly attract attention. So when strangers drove through town, suspicious Hamas security men stopped the van and questioned those inside.

POSTED DECEMBER 12, 2018 8:38 AM

Insurance claims for latest California wildfires top $9 billion

Insurance claims for latest California wildfires top $9 billionInsurance claims from the recent spate of California wildfires, including one ranked as the most deadly and destructive in state history, have topped $9 billion and are expected to grow, the state insurance commissioner reported on Wednesday. The Camp Fire, which erupted on Nov. 8 and quickly incinerated most of the Sierra foothills town of Paradise, about 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco, has accounted for the bulk of the claims, just over $7 billion of the total.

POSTED DECEMBER 12, 2018 6:39 PM

Police departments nationwide sent scrambling by flood of emailed bomb threats

Police departments nationwide sent scrambling by flood of emailed bomb threatsAlthough no explosive devices were found, New York, San Francisco, Oklahoma City are among the cities forced to check out the threats.

POSTED DECEMBER 13, 2018 8:42 PM

Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years in PrisonCohen said his loyalty to Trump led him "to take a path of darkness"

POSTED DECEMBER 12, 2018 12:21 PM

Brexit Reversal More Likely After May's Confidence Vote: Goldman

Brexit Reversal More Likely After May's Confidence Vote: GoldmanPrime Minister Theresa May enjoyed a Pyrrhic victory last night, surviving an attempt by her own party to oust her. Goldman said the party’s eurosceptic faction “holds much less sway across Parliament at large than its influence within the Conservative Party would suggest.” If the Prime Minister were to lose the vote on her tweaked Brexit deal, any subsequent legislation would likely reflect the preferences of a cross-party coalition of MPs looking for closer institutional ties, rather than those of Tory backbenchers advocating a more speedy EU departure. While Conservative MPs may have shied away from removing May, it doesn’t mean that her Brexit deal will succeed, as the Prime Minister struggles to secure a better withdrawal agreement.

POSTED DECEMBER 13, 2018 6:31 AM

US military identifies 5 dead in warplanes crash off Japan

US military identifies 5 dead in warplanes crash off JapanTOKYO (AP) — The U.S. military has identified five Marines who were declared dead after their refueling plane collided with a fighter jet last week off Japan's southern coast.

POSTED DECEMBER 12, 2018 8:59 AM

Porsche presents EV ‘FastCharge' solution

Porsche presents EV ‘FastCharge' solutionThe automaker Porsche has presented a prototype charging station in Germany with an output of up to 450kW. It can be used by electric models of all brands compatible with the European standard Type 2 variant of the widely used Combined Charging System (CCS). Increasing the available charge capacity to up to 450kW considerably reduces the charging time, in turn increasing the number of vehicles able to use the technology in a given space of time.

POSTED DECEMBER 13, 2018 6:13 AM

Turkey says to launch new operation against Syria Kurd militia within days

Turkey says to launch new operation against Syria Kurd militia within daysTurkey will launch a new operation in Syria within days against a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers a terrorist group, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday. "We will start an operation to free the east of the Euphrates from the separatist terrorist organisation in the next few days," Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara, referring to territory held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

POSTED DECEMBER 12, 2018 6:52 AM

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