Another horrific terrorist attack has befallen a European Christmas market; this time in Strasbourg, France.
According to the BBC, two people were killed and another 11 were wounded in a shooting in the eastern French city of Strasbourg. The shooting occurred at a Christmas market in one of the central squares, Place Kléber.
The gunman has since been identified by police and is being pursued. He had been injured in an exchange of gunfire with a soldier. NBC News reports that the suspect is known to authorities and had previously been on a terrorist watch list.
The Guardian reports that the gunman is a 29-year-old man who was born in Strasbourg (not a migrant) and is on the national "Fiche S" list of people considered a potential security risk. "Officers said he had shot at soldiers patrolling as part of the nationwide Operation Sentinelle, reportedly injuring one of them," reports the outlet. "Sentinelle is a French military operation introduced in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in and around Paris in January 2015."
France's counterterrorism prosecutor has now reportedly opened an investigation, with the French interior minister calling it a "serious public security incident." The BBC provided more details regarding the attack itself:
The motive for the attack is unclear. The Christmas market has been the target of threats from Islamist extremists in the past.
Eyewitness Peter Fritz told the BBC he heard gunfire and found a person who had been shot, lying on a bridge. He said he tried to resuscitate him but the man died.
Some unconfirmed reports said three people had died.
Local journalist Bruno Poussard wrote on Twitter that there had been a dozen shots fired on his street in the city centre - one or two to begin with, then in bursts.
Emmanuel Foulon, a press officer for the European Parliament, wrote that there was 'panic' in the centre following the sound of gunfire and that police with guns were running through the streets.
Strasbourg deputy mayor Alain Fontanel tweeted: 'Shooting in downtown Strasbourg. Thank you all for staying home while waiting for a clarification of the situation.'
"There were gunshots and people running everywhere,” one shopkeeper told BFMTV. “It lasted about 10 minutes."
One restaurant waiter told reporters about trying to save the life of a man who was shot after stepping outside of the restaurant. "We used napkins to try to stem the blood," said the waiter, adding that the man later died.
Created in 1570, the Strasbourg Christmas Market is one of France's most popular events during this time of year. Surrounded by water between the River III and Canal du Faux-Rempart, the market is only accessible by water on the "Grande Ile." Vehicles are banned from the area.
In 2016, another Christmas market attack occurred in Berlin when a Tunisian national plowed a truck into a crowd of people, killing 12 and injuring another 56. The perpetrator later died in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy.