Strasbourg attacker killed by police, French media says

An anti-terrorism investigation and an worldwide manhunt had been under way since Tuesday, when three people were killed and 13 more were wounded by a gunman - whom police believed to be 29-year-old Chekatt - in the city.

The alleged shooter in Strasbourg, Chérif Chekatt, has been killed by police, according to reports.

Rémy Heitz, the Paris prosecutor, who handles terrorism investigations nationwide, said at a news conference in Strasbourg on Wednesday that witnesses had heard the attacker yell "Allahu akbar", or "God is great" in Arabic, and that the targets and the suspect's profile justified the opening of a terrorism investigation.

On Thursday afternoon, dozens of French police including members of the elite RAID force cordoned off an area of southern Strasbourg where the gunman was last seen.

The attack prompted France to raise its security level to "emergency attack", the highest of the three.

Another unnamed neighbor said the shooting suspect was rarely home. Minister Castaner said that 350 security agents are hunting for the man, border controls have been strengthened, and security at all Christmas markets will be stepped up.

The suspected jihadist, who is on the run, allegedly developed radical views while serving a string of prison sentences in three European countries.

Strasbourg's usually busy streets were eerily empty this morning, with a heavy police and military presence.

Chekatt's police file photo shows a bearded man of North African descent, with a prayer bruise on the centre of his forehead.

Security forces were already stretched by the often violent demonstrations during which five people have died and more than 1,400 been injured.

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

Prosecutors had opened a terror investigation into the attack.

Mr Heitz said the gunman was shot in the arm during an exchange of fire with soldiers before taking a taxi to another part of the city. The Europhonica radio consortium said Antonio Megalizzi, 28, was in Strasbourg to follow the session of the European Parliament.

The verdict from a district court in Singen, obtained by The Associated Press, says he was also sentenced to prison in France in 2008 and in Basel, Switzerland in 2013 for various robberies.

While some of the movement's representatives have said they are open to halting the protests to negotiate with the government, others have said its concessions are not enough, and have vowed to protest again in Paris this weekend.

During a memorial vigil on Thursday, candles mark the scene of the Strasbourg, France, Christmas market shooting.

Another 12 people were wounded in the attack, six of whom were seriously injured.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said one Italian was among the wounded, and was in critical condition.

In November 2015, groups of militants murdered 130 people in Paris on November 13 in a coordinated rampage by Islamic State extremists that shook the country and Europe.