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Monday 20 November 2017

Manhunt underway near the Champs Elyées after shooting at Paris newspaper

French police officers stand outside the Societe Generale headquarters in the La Defense business district after a shooting on November
French police officers stand outside the Societe Generale headquarters in the La Defense business district after a shooting on November
Paris police are hunting for a gunman following attacks at the offices of the left-wing newspaper Liberation, which left a staff member seriously injured, and outside at the headquarters of French bank Societe Generale
A police car patrols on the Champs-Elysees Avenue during a search operation over Paris
An impact mark, allegedly from a gun shot, is seen in a window on the Societe Generale headquarters at La Defense business district
A French policewoman stands in front of the entrance of the newspaper Liberation's headquarters in Paris
Police guard the entrance of France Info radio after a gunman opened fire in the lobby of Liberation newspaper, Paris, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. The gunman gravely injured a photographer's assistant before fleeing. Soon afterward, shots were fired at the headquarters of a major French bank west of Paris, and a gunman briefly took a man hostage nearby. The Paris police headquarters said that it is not clear whether the three incidents are linked, but that authorities are increasing security in all three places as well as media offices around Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Police guard the entrance of France Info radio after a gunman opened fire in the lobby of Liberation newspaper, Paris
Police officers stand outside Liberation newspaper office in Paris
A sign hangs outside he Societe Generale headquarters in the La Defense business district
The Societe Generale headquarters stands in the La Defense business district
Paris police are hunting for a gunman following attacks at the offices of the left-wing newspaper Liberation
French police officers investigate at the Societe Generale headquarters in the La Defense business district after a shooting
French police officers investigate in the Societe Generale headquarters at the La Defense business district after a shooting
Police officers patrol near the entrance of the Societe General Bank headquarters in La Defense business district, west of Paris
A policeman sets a security perimeter near the entrance of the headquarter of French daily newspaper Liberation, on November 18, 2013 in Paris, after a gunman has opened fire in the hall of the building, injuring one person said to be a photographer.

Henry Samuel

A manhunt was underway near the Champs-Elysées in central Paris on Monday afternoon after two shootings – one at the offices of Libération newspaper in which a young photographer was critically injured.

A helicopter was flying above “the world’s most beautiful avenue” following reports that a man had taken a motorist hostage in Puteaux, west of Paris, and forced him to drive him to the famed avenue that leads to the Arc de Triomphe.

According to BFMTV, the motorist dropped the "heavily armed" gunman off outside the Georges V, a top hotel just off the Champs-Elysées.

All major news outlets in Paris were under police protection after a gunman burst into the headquarters of Libération newspaper and opened fire.

Gunfire has also been reported outside the towers of Societe Generale bank at Paris' business district of La Défense. There were no injuries reported.

Police said it was too early to link the two incidents.

A 27-year-old man was fighting for his life after the lone intruder shot him in the chest and stomach with a pump-action shotgun at 10.15am local time on Monday morning in the lobby of Libération's offices in the 3rd arrondissement.

The newspaper said the injured man worked as an assistant to one of the photographers for Next, a supplement of the newspaper.

Manuel Valls, the interior minister, condemned a "scene of war that has nothing to do with democracy or the press".

The gunman fled the scene and is still at large several hours after the attack.

According to France Info radio, the attacker has been described as appearing to be aged in his 40s, with a shaved head, wearing a long green coat and bullet-proof vest.

A journalist at Libération tweeted that the attacker had fired two to three shots on the ground floor of the premises before fleeing on foot.

"I was just arriving for work and I saw a man lying on the ground, holding his stomach and with blood everywhere," Liberation journalist Anastasia Vecrin told AFP.

François Hollande, the French president who is currently on a tour of the Middle East, said he had ordered "all possible means" to be used to find the assailant.

The Liberation shooting came three days after a man stormed into the Paris headquarters of news channel BFMTV and emptied several cartridges from a similar shotgun before warning a senior editor: "Next time, I will not miss you."

Police are investigating a possible link between the two incidents.

Libération executive Nicolas Demorand said staff at the left-leaning newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Sartre, the philosopher, were in shock.

"When you have someone with a shotgun coming into a newspaper's offices in a democracy, it is very, very serious, whatever the mental state of the person," said Mr Demorand.

"If papers and other media have to become bunkers, something has gone wrong in our society."

He condemned a climate of rising violence in France, in particular towards journalists.

A police security cordon was erected around Libération's editorial offices in central Paris.

Police were protecting the Paris offices of several national media outlets, including the newspapers Le Parisien, Le Monde, les Echos and le Figaro and Europe 1 radio.

Mr Valls quickly arrived at the scene with Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris and Aurélie Filipetti, the culture minister.

"While we still haven't got our hands on this individual it's cause for concern," said Mr Valls.

"All means have been put at the police's disposal" to catch the assailant, said Mr Valls.

He said that he remained "prudent" about any potential link with the BFMTV shooting of last Friday, even if there were "points in common".

Mr Delanoë said : "Violence against journalists is worrying for out society. We are determined not to let this pass."

Telegraph.co.uk

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