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Three dead and several injured after gunman opens fire in central Paris

By Vincent Ashitey
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A gunman has opened fire in central Paris, killing three people and wounding three others.

The attacker targeted a Kurdish cultural centre and shot members of the local community. A possible racist motive is being investigated.

A suspect, aged 69, was quickly arrested and it soon emerged he had been freed from prison recently.

Clashes later broke out between police and a group who had gathered at the scene in the aftermath of the attack.

Footage showed people starting fires in the middle of the street and smashing car windows, with officers in riot gear responding by throwing tear gas.

The unrest came after a man, described by witnesses as tall, white and elderly, shot dead two men and a woman on Rue d'Enghien in the 10th district of Paris.

Of the three people injured, one was said to be in a critical condition and the others were receiving treatment for serious injuries.

There is no confirmed motive for the shooting, but Paris Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said the suspect had previously been charged with racist violence.

That incident - in which he attacked tents at a migrant camp in Paris with a sword - took place at Bercy on 8 December 2021. It was not clear why he had recently been released.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who earlier travelled to the scene, said there was currently no known link between the suspect and "ultra-right" groups.

Local Mayor Alexandra Cordebard said the gunman was also wounded in the shooting and that three places had come under fire: the Kurdish community centre, a restaurant and a hairdresser.

"We were walking in the street and heard gunshots," a witness, Ali Dalek, told the BBC. "We turned around and saw people running left and right.


"And then, five or six minutes later, because we know people who work at the hair salon, we went in and we saw that they had arrested a guy."

Another witness, a shopkeeper, told AFP she had locked herself in. She said she had heard seven or eight bursts of gunfire.

Police eventually detained the suspect without resistance and reportedly recovered the weapon used in the attack. Prosecutors said they had opened a murder investigation.

The Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDF-K), which runs the Ahmet-Kaya Kurdish centre that was hit, condemned the attack in a short statement.

Le Monde newspaper quoted Agit Polat, a spokesperson for the centre, as saying French authorities had "once more" failed to protect Kurds living in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the capital's Kurdish community had been the "target of a heinous attack" and praised police for their "courage".

The shooting came almost 10 years after the murder of three Kurdish women activists in Paris in January 2013, including a co-founder of the militant nationalist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

A Turkish man was charged with the killings but he died in 2016 before being tried.

The CDF-K referred to the historic case in its statement, saying the attack on Friday occurred "shortly before the 10th anniversary of the the triple assassination of Kurdish activists in Paris on 9 January 2013". No official link between the two incidents has so far been identified.

A meeting is due to take place on Saturday morning between Laurent Nunez, head of the Parisian police, and leaders of the Kurdish community, the force said in a statement.