In this image made from video, emergency services arrive on the scene of a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 (AP Photo)

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

A shooting in the French city of Strasbourg killed two people and wounded 11 others, officials said, sparking a broad lockdown and major security operation around a world-famous Christmas market Tuesday. Authorities said the shooter remains at large.

French prosecutors said a terrorism investigation was opened into the shooting, though authorities haven’t announced a motive. It’s unclear if the market — which was the nucleus of an al-Qaida plot in 2000 — was targeted. The city is also home to the European Parliament, which was locked down after the shooting.

The gunman has been identified and has a criminal record, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. The prefect of the Strasbourg region says the gunman had been flagged as a suspected extremist.

RELATED: France bracing for more protests despite retreat on taxes

The attack came as France has been wracked by four weeks of protests against President Emmanuel Macron, and police forces have been stretched by fighting rioting and other protest-related unrest. Macron himself adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said, indicating the gravity of the attack.

The interior minister and the Paris prosecutor, who is in charge of anti-terror probes in France, headed Tuesday night to Strasbourg. The prosecutor’s office says the investigation is for murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise.

Several of the wounded are in critical condition, Castaner said.

In multiple neighbourhoods of Strasbourg, the French Interior Ministry called on the public to remain indoors. French soldiers were on patrol after the shooting.

“Our security and rescue services are mobilized,” Castaner said.

Local authorities tweeted for the public to “avoid the area of the police station,” which is close to the city’s Christmas market. Strasbourg’s well-known market is set up around the city’s cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market.

European Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch said that “the European Parliament has been closed and no one can leave until further notice.” It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were inside.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that “my thoughts are with the victims of the shooting …. Strasbourg is like no other a city which is a symbol of peace and European democracy.”

France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.

Some Strasbourg residents have reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city centre.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that “the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers.”

Strasbourg, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Paris, is on the border with Germany.

The drama recalled a millennial terror plot on Strasbourg’s Christmas market that still marks the collective memory. Ten suspected Islamic militants were convicted and sentenced to prison in December 2004 for their role in a plot to blow up the market on New Year’s Eve 2000.

The Algerian and French-Algerian suspects — including an alleged associate of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden — went on trial in October on charges they were involved in the foiled plot for the attack.

They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to nine years.

Sylvie Corbet, Lori Hinnant And Elaine Ganley, The Associated Press

Read more: Trudeau avoids confrontation with Saudi crown prince, Putin during G20 summit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Designs for Johnson Street Bridge waterfront areas hit delays

Upgrades to the Songhees Park, surrounding area being presented Thursday

Saanich’s 20-year-old acting mayor encourages other young people get involved in politics

There is a ‘hunger for young voices’ in politics right now

Personal health scare inspires Sidney’s newest gym

Arne Jackson said the scare was a ‘wake-up call’

Victoria’s Belfry Theatre hosts its first ‘relaxed performance’ for a diverse audience

Performance of Every Brilliant Thing is first to pilot the option

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Most Read