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Three dead, at least three others injured in a shooting in the center of Paris


Three people were killed and at least three injured in a shooting in central Paris on Friday, according to the French interior minister, who said the assailant “clearly wanted to attack foreigners” and likely acted alone.

The shooting in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, a lively and multicultural district of the French capital, targeted a Kurdish community center, a nearby restaurant and a hair salon. Mourners and Kurdish protesters gathered in the area on Friday evening.

“We saw an old white man come in and then start shooting,” a witness told Agence France-Presse.

Officials described the suspect, who was being treated for facial injuries after his arrest on Friday, as a 69-year-old French citizen who had previously been charged with racially motivated violence in a sword attack on a camp in tents sheltering migrants. He was released from prison two weeks ago and is currently being investigated for “murder”, “attempted murder” and “intentional violence with a weapon”.

Prosecutor Laure Beccuau told reporters she saw no reason for anti-terrorism prosecutors to take over the investigation, a move some leftist politicians have been calling for. Attacks of similar scope perpetrated by Islamist extremists have been investigated as terrorist attacks.

“The Kurds of France have been the target of a heinous attack in the heart of Paris,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Friday evening. “Thoughts with the victims, with the people who fight to survive, with their families and with their close relations.”

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin had warned that it was too early to conclude that the assailant was deliberately targeting Kurds, as opposed to foreigners in general.

Speaking near the scene of the shooting, Darmanin said the suspect was not known to have been an active member of far-right groups. He was known to practice in shooting ranges.

One of three people injured in Friday’s shooting is in critical condition, Darmanin said.

Local officials urged residents to stay away from the area of ​​the attack. But by Friday afternoon local time, large crowds had gathered in nearby streets to mourn the victims. Clashes broke out between police and members of the Kurdish community, who chanted slogans decrying the Turkish government and blaming French officials for failing to protect them.

During his visit, Darmanin said Kurdish organizations and Turkish diplomatic premises would receive additional police protection.

Kurdish organizations called for a large demonstration in Paris on Saturday.

Friday’s shooting comes almost 10 years after three female Kurdish activists were killed in a shooting at another community center in Paris. Many members of the Kurdish community in Paris have long suspected Turkish intelligence services of being behind the attack.

“Kurds, wherever they reside, must be able to live in peace and security,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, adding that “more than ever, Paris is by their side in these dark times.”

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