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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 17 May 2022

Police release image of Strasbourg attacker suspect as Irish visitors to France told to exercise caution

Two were killed and one person left brain-dead after the shooting at the Christmas market in Strasbourg.

A wanted poster for Cherif Chekatt, the suspected killer in the Strasbourg attack.
A wanted poster for Cherif Chekatt, the suspected killer in the Strasbourg attack.
Image: Police Nationale

FRENCH AUTHORITIES HAVE issued a wanted poster and are calling for witnesses amid a massive manhunt for the suspected shooter nearly 24 hours after a deadly attack at the Strasbourg Christmas market.

A photo of Cherif Chekatt (29) who was born in Strasbourg, was distributed publicly yesterday evening.

The poster warns:

“Dangerous individual, above all do not intervene.” It asks anyone with information that could help locate him to contact authorities.

Chekatt has been on the run since allegedly spraying gunfire at the city’s famous Christmas market on Tuesday night, killing two and leaving one person brain-dead. A dozen others were injured.

Hundreds of police and soldiers were combing Strasbourg in a search of him, blocking bridges that cross the border into Germany.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a strengthening of security forces to secure Christmas markets.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has advised Irish people in France to exercise a high degree of caution while travelling in the country.

“The Embassy is monitoring the security incident in Strasbourg. Heightened security measures are in place in the area. French police advise those in the area to remain vigilant and follow the instructions of the local authorities,” the DFA said.


The attack in the heart of the medieval city as the annual Christmas market was closing on Tuesday night left two dead, 13 injured and crowds of traumatised witnesses.

Chekatt opened fire with a handgun and stabbed passers-by during his rampage, France’s anti-terror prosecutor Remy Heitz said yesterday. 

Chekatt, who was on a watchlist for suspected religious extremists, had already been sentenced 27 times in France, Germany and Switzerland for crimes including violence and robbery.

His mother and father, as well as two brothers, were detained for questioning Wednesday.

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Chekatt was flagged by French security forces in 2015 as a possible extremist while in prison, after he “called for practising a radical form of religion,” deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez told France Inter radio Wednesday.


Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told lawmakers in Paris that three people tried to stop Chekatt, one of whom was stabbed but not killed.

During his rampage, he was injured in an exchange of fire with soldiers who were patrolling the Christmas market as part of regular anti-terror operations.

The gunman then fled the scene in a taxi, getting out in the city’s southern Neudorf district, where he again exchanged fire with police before disappearing, a source close to the inquiry told AFP.

Around 720 police officers and other security forces are searching for him, Castaner said, and the public is being urged to alert police of any tips on his whereabouts.

 With reporting from AFP and Cormac Fitzgerald

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