A police officer who was shot in a pre-dawn shooting in southern Paris today has died.
The female police officer and a street sweeper were shot and gravely wounded during firing that started when the officer stopped to investigate a traffic accident.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve cautioned against jumping to any conclusions about the attack, which has not been linked to yesterday’s assault on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left two police officers among the dead.
France is on its highest level of alert after the deadly attacks at Charlie Hebdo’s central Paris offices.
Cazeneuve said authorities were doing their utmost to identify and arrest the attackers.
According to an eye witness, the officer was shot by a man fleeing the scene.
“There was an officer in front of a white car and a man running away who shot,” said Ahmed Sassi, who saw the shooting from his home nearby.
He said the shooter wore dark clothes but no mask.
“It didn’t look like a big gun because he held it with one hand,” said Sassi.
Cazeneuve left an emergency government meeting to travel to the scene of today’s shooting.
French officials have said that there have been several attacks on mosques in France since the Charlie Hebdo attack, AFP reports.
There were reports this morning of an explosion at a kebab shop near a mosque in eastern France.
Meanwhile, Paris was sealed off as a massive manhunt has been launched for yesterday’s shooters, named as brothers Cherif Kouachi (32) and Said Kouachi (34).
There were unconfirmed reports that the suspects were spotted in northern France.
The two men were said to be armed and on a highway heading away from Paris in a car with a blacked-out number plate.
Meanwhile, Sky News today reported that the man who was arrested after yesterday’s attack is the brother-in-law of the Kouachi brothers.