A French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris on Thursday night in an attack carried out days before presidential elections and quickly claimed by the Islamic State group.

President Francois Hollande said he was convinced the shooting on the Champs Elysees boulevard, in which the assailant was himself shot dead by police, was an act of terrorism.

The wide avenue that leads away from the Arc de Triomphe had been crowded with Parisians and tourists enjoying a spring evening; but police quickly cleared the area which remained empty well into the night of all but heavily armed police and police vehicles.

Paris police spokeswoman Johnna Primevere told The Associated Press that the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the avenue popular with tourists.


Champs Elysee shooting Paris

An eyewitness told Reuters a man got out of a car and began shooting “with a kalashnikov.”

Police said the officer who was killed was in a car which had been stopped at a red light by the attacker, Sky News reported.