21st April 2017
Two policeman were shot and injured, and one killed, on the Champs-Élysées in the evening on 20 April 2017. The gunman was killed by security forces in the ensuing gunfight. The weapon used by the gunman was believed to be a Kalashnikov. The Champs-Élysées was evacuated as an additional safety measure. Shortly afterwards, the Islamic State released a statement via social media, claiming the attack and identifying the gunman as Abu Yousif, a Belgian. This has not been confirmed by police, who subsequently conducted a search at a location east of Paris in Chelles. It is believed the gunman had recently been questioned by authorities but released due to a lack of evidence.
The incident has led to some calls for the postponing of the first round of national elections on 23 April 2017. Candidates Mr Fillon and Ms Marine Le Pen have cancelled campaigning for the day. Security measures have been heightened throughout the city in the build-up to the elections. Some have argued the attack may increase support for Marine Le Pen, who maintains strong views on security and migration. Alternatively, voters may place their support towards more experienced politicians, such as Mr Fillon.
If caught in a terror situation, travellers are advised to RUN – HIDE – TELL – FIGHT. RUN – If in a location where gunfire or explosions are heard, leave the area or building by any safe and available exit immediately. HIDE – If unable to run away, find suitable cover or barricade yourself in a room. Remember to silence your phone and turn vibrate off. TELL – Inform emergency services or alert someone who is able to do it for you. Once police arrive, comply with their instructions and do not make any sudden movements. FIGHT – As a last resort, if confronted with a gunman, it is recommended to fight back by using the element of surprise by shouting, screaming and running fast at the attacker. If sheltered with others, convince them to do the same and rush the attacker all at once. Ensure the person entering the shelter is the attacker and not law enforcement.
Solace Global would not advise clients that enhanced security provisions are required when visiting France. Travellers are advised to maintain the same level of situational awareness as they would in any western urban centre at all times, and undertake sensible security provisions while travelling in the country and monitor Solace Secure for intelligence updates.