Strasbourg gunman shot dead by French police: sources

The suspected gunman, who killed three people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg on Tuesday, has been killed, police sources have said.

Cherif Chekatt was killed in the Neudorf area of the city in northeast France after a police operation was launched around 20:00 GMT on Thursday, sources said.

A French police official said security forces, including the elite Raid squad, acted following reports that the 29-year-old suspect was hiding in a building in the neighbourhood. 

WATCH: Strasbourg shooting: French police hunt for gunman (01:21)

Authorities said a taxi driver dropped Chekatt off in the Neudorf neighborhood of Strasbourg on Tuesday evening after the shooting, which also wounded 13 people.

Chekatt had a long criminal record and was flagged for extremism, government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux told CNews television.

Prosecutors had opened a terror investigation into the attack. Police distributed a photo of Chekatt, with the warning: “Individual dangerous, above all do not intervene.”

The death toll rose to three on Thursday with the death of a victim who was declared brain-dead earlier. Five of those wounded were in serious condition, authorities said.

Massive manhunt

France had raised its three-stage threat index to the highest level and deployed 1,800 additional soldiers across the country to help patrol streets and secure crowded events.

French authorities said the suspect, born in Strasbourg, had run-ins with police starting at age 10 and his first conviction was at age 13.

Chekatt was convicted 27 times, mostly in France but also in Switzerland and Germany, for crimes including armed robbery. He was flagged for extremism and was on a watch list.

Authorities had also called on the “yellow vest” protesters who have demonstrated across France since last month not to take to the streets. Members of the movement have planned a fifth round of demonstrations on Saturday to demand tax relief.

WATCH: Strasbourg shooting – At least three dead, gunman at large (01:39)

The usually busy streets of Strasbourg were eerily empty on Thursday, with a heavy police and military presence. The Christmas market was closed on Thursday, authorities said.

Some lit candles and brought flowers to a makeshift memorial at the site of the attack.

“You can feel a very heavy atmosphere due all these events,” said resident Lucille Romance. “People are in a state of shock and are avoiding getting out of their house.”

The dead included a Thai tourist, 45-year-old Anupong Suebsamarn, according to the Thai foreign ministry.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said an Italian among the wounded was in a critical condition. 

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