Saturday 19 October 2019

DFA issues travel alert for Irish people in France as manhunt for Strasbourg suspect continues

Death toll from gun attack has risen to three

A French soldier stands guard near a closed wooden barrack shop at the traditional Christkindelsmaerik (Christ Child market) in front of the Cathedral the day after a shooting in Strasbourg, France, December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
A French soldier stands guard near a closed wooden barrack shop at the traditional Christkindelsmaerik (Christ Child market) in front of the Cathedral the day after a shooting in Strasbourg, France, December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has urged Irish people to "exercise caution" while visiting France this week, after a shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg left at least three people dead and 12 injured.

The warning comes as French authorities released a warning poster for visitors, describing the suspect as a "dangerous individual" who the public should not engage with.

Officials confirmed that the death toll rose to three today after a wounded victim died, the Paris Prosecutor's office said.

"The Embassy is monitoring the security incident in Strasbourg. Heightened security measures are in place in the area," the DFA said in a statement.

"In 2015 and 2016, a number of terrorist incidents took place in Paris resulting in widespread casualties.

"Irish citizens in France are reminded to exercise a high degree of caution, to be vigilant in public places and to follow the instructions of local authorities at all times."

The DFA also encouraged Irish citizens to carry their passport with them at all times and to be wary of protests, with more than 50 people injured in anti-government protesters in Paris at the weekend.

"Protests continuing throughout France may lead to travel disruptions in some areas due to road and motorway blockages. Recent demonstrations have led to outbreaks of violence and damage to property.

-SECURITY (77).jpg
French police walk past flowers and candles that are placed in the Rue des Orfevres street in tribute to the victims of the deadly shooting as they patrol in Strasbourg, France, December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

"We recommend you avoid any protests if possible, stay informed of what is happening around you by monitoring local media, and follow the advice of local authorities.

"Irish citizens in France are reminded that they should be in possession of a valid form of photographic identification such as a passport or passport card at all times."

Hundreds of security forces have combed eastern France for a 29-year-old man suspected of opening fire near Strasbourg's famous Christmas market.

Tuesday night's attack at the Christmas market in Strasbourg killed two people, left a third brain-dead and injured 12, and was a stark reminder to a nation wounded by previous assaults that terrorism remains a threat, even as anti-government protests roil the country.

-SECURITY (82).jpg
A woman cries as she stands in front flowers and candles at the Place Kleber in tribute to the victims of the deadly shooting in Strasbourg, France, December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

The suspect was named as Cherif Chekatt (29), of average build, 1.80m in height with a possible beard and a mark on his forehead.

Members of the public have continued to pay tribute and attend vigils for victims of the attack.

Local French police in have opened an information line at 0 811 000 667.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News