Champs Elysees Reopens as ISIS Claims Responsibility for Attack

Police seal off the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, after a fatal shooting in which a police officer was killed along with an attacker.
Photo by AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu via Newscred

The Champs Elysees in Paris reopened Friday morning following last night’s shooting of a police van.

According to the Local fr, tourists were returning to the area this morning following last night’s attack.

"I needed to get out, to come back here and see the sunshine and that everything was OK," Lebanese tourist Zeina Bitar told the Local fr. "We heard the shots and people were running in every direction…But people were calm, we were well treated and they gave us hot chocolate."

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CNN reports that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed one police officer during a major campaign event for the French election. The attacker, who was a French national with a criminal record, was killed while attempting to escape. He had reportedly been the subject of a counterterrorism investigation.

The attack came as Paris had been showing signs of recovery in its tourism numbers following the deadly 2015 terrorist attack on a Bataclan concert hall. According to the latest statistics from the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, visitor numbers had begun to recover in the last weeks of 2016 and first months of 2017. Hotel arrivals in December 2016 increased by 19.5 percent year over year, returning to levels seen in December 2014, before the Bataclan attacks. In January 2017, hotel arrivals in Paris were up 20.1 percent year over year.

An earlier study by Allianz Global Assistance of bookings to Paris over the 2016 holiday travel period had shown travel to the city down 12.8 percent year over year.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris has released a security message for U.S. travelers, urging them to “maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security.”

The French government continues to operate under a state of emergency that has been extended through July 15, the Embassy said, which allows the government to prevent the circulation of individuals and to create zones of protection and security.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities,” the Embassy said.

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