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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 20, 2017 11:00pm-11:30pm BST

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the area around the world famous boulevard has been evacuated. the authorities are treating it as a terrorist incident. the attack comes just three days before the first round of the french presidential elections. katya adler reports. you have to stay back, please. the area is dangerous because of shotguns. please stay back. tonight, france's worst fears realised, yet another terror attack and just two days before an all—important presidential election here. one policeman killed, another seriously injured in a shooting on the emblematic and busy champs elysees. translation: i was walking on the pavement, there was a bus full of police, the man parked just in front of the bus, then got out a kalashnikov and then he shot six times. i thought it was fireworks. then he went and hid behind a lorry. translation: we were moving towards a car and i heard two or three shots. i didn't realise they were shots to start with. then there wasjust panic
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all around, everyone started running down the champs elyseesjust by instinct. i didn't stop to work out what was going on, i just ran, too. the attacker was then shot dead by police. guns drawn, the police are shooing people of the street. this country which up untiljust now was obsessed by politics and the upcoming election has been thrown back into a sense of fear it was just about recovering from after the mass paris attacks over a year ago. tonight, people in central paris were too scared to leave their homes. the tension is palpable. gunshots. shots are being fired. is it gunshots? no. a sudden noise where we were was mistaken for gunfire and had police shouting us off the street. metro stations in central paris have been shut down for now as armed police spread across the streets of the capital. tonight, paris is fearful, and on high alert.
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katya adler, bbc news, paris. the french interior spokesman, pierre—henry brandet, gave reporters this update. translation: just before 9pm in front of number 102 on the champs elysee, vehicle stop next to a police vehicle which was carrying out public order and traffic duties, working under the direction of the prefecture of police. this vehicle was stationary with operatives inside and also some police officers we re inside and also some police officers were carrying out duties on the pavement nearby. a manjumped out of the vehicle and opened fire on the police vehicle, fatally windy one officer from the police vehicle, fatally windy one officerfrom the parisien police force. the man then tried to run onto the pavement. he went to other officers. the two officers that were wounded and other nearby officers returned fire. the attacker was
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killed. —— wounding. the surrounding area was locked down immediately. emergency response units were deployed to secure the zone. as for the attack of‘s identity, that has not been confirmed in a clear and precise manner. any information that is being circulated is not trustworthy or verified. we're only at the beginning this investigation. it is ongoing. just as the security zone around the champs elysee remains in place. we cannot exclude that there may be one or more cobblers as that may have assisted the commission of the crime. but the main thing we have established a statement is intrinsic evidence is that there was only one attacker. our correspondent thomas fessy is in paris. we now have a clear idea of what
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strands this will follow? yes. it was followed by a statement by president francois hollande, who said he was convinced that this was an act of terrorism. in fact, the anti—terrorist section of the prosecutor's offers is running the investigation. we understand the police has now issued an arrest warrant for a second suspect, and that they are on their way to searching a home, as well. president francois hollande talked about security forces, said they would be on the highest alert on voting day. obviously, there is a high possibility that this attack might have an effect on the turnout of the election. there are so many elements of this shooting which could be regarded as significant. the location and the timing, in particular, and the police being the
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target, this time. exactly. a very symbolic place, the champs elysee, the main thoroughfare of paris, full of tourists, full of traffic at this time of night. but then the police being targeted, obviously this attack comes three days before the vote, and it is possible that people will feel that at voting stations, that they might be targeted on sunday as well. you wonder how much more security can be out there at the streets, not just more security can be out there at the streets, notjust of paris, but in other centres, which may feel they are at risk, to? and remember that france has been under a state of emergency since late 2015, following the first paris and tax. there are thousands of soldiers deployed all around france, patrolling train stations,
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patrolling train stations, patrolling the streets. —— attacks. president francois hollande wanted to reassure french nationals that the security forces are working, despite the hype price that they are taking. —— high. despite the hype price that they are taking. -- high. at a course, 11 candidates taking place in a televised debate tonight. how did this feature in the debate? we understand that a emmanuel macron, the centrist, reacted live to what had happened. but what we know is that some of the candidates have actually said they would suspend theircampaign actually said they would suspend their campaign tomorrow in light of their campaign tomorrow in light of the attack that happen tonight. for the attack that happen tonight. for the moment, thank you very much. thomas fessy at our bureau in paris. he will keep us up—to—date with the
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developments in the coming hours. we speak now to somebody who was actually in a cafe on the champs elysee. waleed joins us live. talk through what you saw. sure, sure. i was sitting in a cafe, maybe 400 metres from where everything happened. in front of the famous george v hotel, on george smith avenue. i was told that it was construction when i heard noises. —— george v. high—volume construction work. then three minutes after i left the cafe, as i was heading with a friend in the direction of the champs elysee. and i started seeing
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people running and frightened. i could see it in their faces. they we re could see it in their faces. they were running the opposite way of me. i bailed were running the opposite way of me. ibailed up were running the opposite way of me. i bailed up the person and asked them what happened. they told me that i should definitely run with them as they heard a lot of shootings, and they were really shocked. so i started to run with them, as of course... and in about a minute, i could see a helicopter over paris, with a camera. so probably, maybe for tracking another potential shooter. and quite quickly, they started to close the sector, the champs elysee sector, and the surrounding streets. we give stills here some science here. —— we can still see —— here some science
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here. and there are still low security presence of course. but something that we have been hearing from other eyewitnesses is how quickly the police officers were on the scene, following the attack. there was a high police presence on the champs elysee, regardless. but following this attack, a very swift response. absolutely. we had to congratulate the french police as they did, i guess, a greatjob. in less tha n they did, i guess, a greatjob. in less than ten minutes, we could see maybe hundreds of police cars starting to block the sector, starting to block the sector, starting to... to secure... to put security in the surrounding streets. and yes, it was quite, quite fast. asi and yes, it was quite, quite fast. as i was not exact were it happened, but we can imagine, because quite
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quickly, could see policemen progressing in the street, and asking us to go elsewhere, to do a deviation, and, yes, now you can hear the sirens. but yes, they did a really fast — they had a fast reaction, to the actual situation. normally the champs elysee would be buzzing tonight. are you being told to stay away? what is the advice you are now being given by security services? definitely we had to stay away from the champs elysee. i live not very far from the champs elysee. about two kilometres. but i stopped ata about two kilometres. but i stopped at a friend's place while the sector is waiting to be opened again. but yes, of course, tonight, definitely the champs elysee is closed and all
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the champs elysee is closed and all the tourists and prescience are asked not to enter the sector. thank you forjoining us there, waleed haddad. islamic state militants have said that one of their fighters carried out the attack. understandably, a lot of people feel it is rather distasteful to give such claims an airing, but this claim came in. a brief statement on the official social media account of the islamic state group. it identified the attacker as a belgian by the name of abu youssef. we used to islamic state clement is attacked his own work, or the work of people who are said to be affiliated or associated with them. no further information
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was given. on the lion is miles redpath. what did you hear? —— maz redpath. on the lion is miles redpath. what did you hear? -- maz redpath. within minutes, about 30 police cars drove past. —— line. i headed in the direction of the police cars, and i got to where we were cordoned off, and could not go any further. and there were probably about 15 people. so this was as close as one could possibly get to where the firing took place. and the whole of the champs elysee was shut down. you could only see blue lights flashing.
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it was quite impressive. how quickly did what happened become apparent?” saw police custody past. i saw one, two, three, and i think by the time 30 or so had passed, it became very clear that this was something quite serious. as the caller before said, there was a helicopter ahead circling the champs elysee. the stretch between where we were was still open. but by that time, you could see it was just one big still open. but by that time, you could see it wasjust one big blur of blue lights. it was quite an emotional moment. so that is as far as we can go, basically. the speed of the response of the police and
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other emergency services seems to really have been something that has caught everybody‘s attention. without a doubt. it was exceptional. it seemed highly structured. ever seem to know what they were doing. very professional. nobody was aggressive. they were just in control, it felt like. that was very nice. the advice, quickly, to people out there on the champs elysee, was that they should get away from public areas, get out of the open. what advice did you receive? as i said, iwas what advice did you receive? as i said, i was standing at the height that of the place concorde. it was quite clear that nothing was being taken for granted. people were just loitering around. my reaction at the moment was that things were not 100%
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sure, was more going to happen or not? it is difficult to know what more the french authorities can do in terms of increasing presence out of the country has been under a state of emergency for the last 18 months. obviously, certainly it seems that the layperson, they could not have done any better than a dead. —— to the layperson. certainly, being so close, ifelt very safe. in fact, if they were suggesting that it was ok to be there, then it was fine, and as soon as they felt that it was perhaps u nsafe, as they felt that it was perhaps unsafe, then they would ask us to move on. so again, they seem to have things under complete control. maz redpath, we thank you for sharing
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your account with us. they give a much. on the line is security expert olivier guitta. olivier, france is of course in a state of emergency since those bata cla n state of emergency since those bataclan attacks in november, 2015 and we have been hearing how quick the response was today. yes, the terror alert was really at the maximum level in the run—up to the french presidential election and actually the number of soldiers and police patrolling the streets of france were up 50,000. they were u nfortu nately france were up 50,000. they were unfortunately expecting an attack, especially since two days ago, two a major jihadists especially since two days ago, two a majorjihadists were especially since two days ago, two a major jihadists were arrested especially since two days ago, two a majorjihadists were arrested in marseille and they were planning a large—scale attack before sunday's
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first round. unfortunately it isn't a surprise for security services. what is telling is, as you mention, islamic state have claimed responsibility for this attack, what is telling is that it was done very quickly, which indicates that this person was not inspired but rather an individual that was close to islamic state. two other points that are worth mentioning, both islamic state and al qaeda had issued orders if you will to their followers to attack france before the election to influence the result of the election, like it happened in madrid in 2004. you talk about the fact the
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response was so quick from islamic state. obviously there's going to be concerned about accomplices in that case, we are hearing in this incident there was possibly only one attacker but in terms of accomplices, what are the security services... what will they now be looking for, how do they develop their investigation in terms of what happened today? indeed. what we know so far is that the perpetrator of the attack was on that famous terror watch list in france of 15,000 jihadists. he is a belgian national and it is interesting that the french issued an rs warrent supposedly for a man that came from belgium to paris today. there's a belgian connection, exactly like what happened in november, 2015
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tracks. so the security services are really on top of it and i assume they have a lot more information about his network if you will. —— 2015 attacks. especially if this individual expressed his intention of attacking the champs elysee. we are hearing the security detail around the presidential candidates has been increased, that would be expected, wouldn't it? yes, it was increased already the last week. they had got intel that may be presidential candidates or their headquarters might be targeted. the two jihadists arrested just two days ago in marseille were possibly planning an attack against one of the candidates. yes, indeed, there are on full alert —— they are. as we
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saw, they targeted the police, the military, and as you mentioned, tourist symbolic areas. a few months ago we had an attack on orly airport, the louvre and now the champs elysee, really landmarks or paris. olivier, we will leave it there for the time being but we thank you for your time, olivier guitta, a security expert. the french president francois hollande has also spoken about the attack. he confirmed as well as one police officer and the attacker being killed, two police officers we re being killed, two police officers were wounded and a passerby was also injured. here's a little of what he had to say. translation: we are convinced the investigations will show that this attack was terrorist in nature. the anti—terrorist group has been deployed and it will leave the
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enquiry. it will establish the motivation of the attack and whether anyone else was involved. i am convening a defence meeting tomorrow morning at 8am. we have done everything to mobilise our police and military in a way appropriate to the circumstances. this has been the case for several months. our vigilance will be of the highest order, in particular with regard to the forthcoming election. but eve ryo ne the forthcoming election. but everyone will understand that at this time my thoughts are with the family of the police officer who was killed, and also the loved ones of the wounded officers. a national commemoration will be arranged for this police officer, who was the victim of a cowardly murder. we must all remain aware that our security forces carry out a particularly difficult job, forces carry out a particularly difficultjob, that forces carry out a particularly difficult job, that they are exposed, as we've seen again this evening, and they can count on the total support of our nation. the french president francois
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hollande speaking earlier on french television. president trump gave this reaction to what's been happening in paris. our condolences from our country to the people of france. again it's happening, it seems, ijust saw it asi happening, it seems, ijust saw it as i was walking in, it's a terrible thing. it's a very terrible thing that's going on in the world today but it looks like another terrorist attack and what can you say? itjust never ends. we have to be strong and we have to be vigilant and i've been saying for long time. on the line is journalist and authorjennifer bakody, she lives near the champs elysee. what did you hear and see when you first became aware of the incident? i first heard of it... first became aware of the incident? ifirst heard of it... are first became aware of the incident? i first heard of it... are you
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there? yes, we can hear you, carry on. what happened was i came back andi on. what happened was i came back and i was watching the platform on tv for the coming presidential election to talk about their visions for france. then the show was interrupted by the news of the terror attack, that's when my husband said... we had been sitting on the sofa, he said that makes sense, looking at the window, he said he wondered what the helicopter was doing, i said it could be something like that. i looked out and around 300 metres from the champs elysee there was something going on. that's how we became aware of it and through the evening, probably like many of your listeners, had been getting the news like that. how clear was the advice?
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people on the champs elysee were moved away from the open space we understand? yes, that's my understanding as well. we were told very quickly we should be inside and that people should be - there is; search, is ,- as, . is; search, is 77 77 on in 2 searcb is e on in the nu l7 -7-l —7777 777ll7 7 7 area. nu l7 -7-l —7777 “ll-l7 77 7 area. at- point area. at t at'no' 3,11-113'flagai! we area. at t at'no' 71.11.4131'12121! we were aware of what was or many. we were aware of what was happening outside. we heard silence but that was our extent of the knowledge of what was happening outside the building. people like you have commented on the scale and speed of the response of the police and other emergency services. how conscious are you of the security presence in france on a normal day? very conscious. i've been listening to your previous guests, they have been saying how they feel quite secure insofar as there is not much more. . . secure insofar as there is not much more... people
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