Donald Trump responds to Paris shooting: 'It looks like another terrorist attack'

French interior ministry says it is too early to judge motive

Jon Sharman
New York
,Mythili Sampathkumar,Emily Shugerman
Thursday 20 April 2017 21:09 BST
Donald Trump responds to Paris shooting: 'It looks like another terrorist attack'

Donald Trump has responded to the Paris shooting and said "it looks like another terrorist attack".

French law enforcement have not confirmed that the shooting along the busy thoroughfare of the Champs Elysees is part of a terrorist act. The French interior ministry said it was too early to judge the reason behind the attack, and Police Secretary Yvan Assioma told reporters there were "no theories" about whether this was an act of terror.

Isis’s news agency AMAQ, however, reports that the group has claimed responsibility for the attack. They are asserting the attacker was a Belgian man named Abu Yusuf.

Mr Trump made his comments on the attack at a White House press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. He used the opportunity to send his condolences to France and lament the state of terrorism around the world.

“It never ends,” Mr Trump said at the press conference in the White House. “We have to be strong, and we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time.”

Later in the press conference, Mr Trump said maintaining the strength of Europe was “very, very important” to the US, and to him personally.

The Paris shooting occurred when a car pulled in front of a police van at 102 Champs-Elysees and opened fire. French authorities confirmed that one police officer and one of the attackers were killed in the showdown. BFMTV reports that another, unidentified man was hit by crossfire.

There are reports of another shooting, but authorities have not confirmed whether it is part of the same incident.

The event comes just three days after a tense first round of elections for a new French President. Like Mr Trump's 2016 campaign opposite Hillary Clinton, the French election has had problems of fake news and deeply divisive politics between front runners extreme right-wing Marine Le Pen and the more progressive Emmanuel Macron.

Like Mr Trump, Ms Le Pen has taken a strong stance on terrorism, suggesting heightened border control programs to combat the issue.

"We cannot fight the terrorism that weighs on our country without controlling our borders," she said in a French radio interview on Tuesday.

A recent Ifop poll found that terrorism is the most prevalent concern among French voters. The country has been racked by multiple major terrorist attacks in the last several years. One attack in 2016 resulted in the death of 86 people in the southern city of Nice. A Paris attack in 2015 killed 130.

Mr Trump has suggested similarly stringent anti-terrorism measures, including a ban on all Muslims entering the country. As president, he issued an executive order blocking immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations as part of his national security program.

Mr Trump reiterated this anti-immigration stance at the press conference on Thursday, saying both Italy and the US should push for the “eventual return of refugees to their own countries, so that they can help rebuild their home nations.”

Later, he said the United States’ primary international goal is “ridding the world of Isis.”

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