Shooting at Strasbourg Christmas Market Prompts Manhunt

In this image made from video, emergency services arrive on the scene of a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France. // AP Photo via Newscred

A shooting in Strasbourg’s Christmas market has prompted a manhunt and terrorism investigation in eastern France.

The Irish Times reports that the attack took place just before 8 p.m. local time in the Strasbourg Christmas market, which is the largest in France.

The New York Times reports that at least two people were killed and 12 others wounded. A third person, who had initially been reported as killed, is now listed as currently brain dead.

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According to the Times, French prosecutors are treating the shooting as a terrorist incident. The suspect was known to French authorities, officials said, having been incarcerated multiple times and flagged as a “Fiche S,” one of about 20,000 possible people identified by French security services as being at risk for possible radicalization.

CNBC reports that France has raised its security threat to the highest alert level as police conduct a search in eastern France for the suspect. French and German agents have also stepped up measures at the border, with checks on vehicles and public transport crossings reportedly causing traffic delays.

The shooting recalls a similar attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that took place in 2016. In that incident, a man drove a truck into the crowd.

Christmas markets are a perennial draw for tourists headed to Europe, particularly those taking river cruises. A spokesperson for Scenic tells Travel Agent that, while the line did have some guests in the market earlier in the day, all of the guests were onboard the ship in Strasbourg at the time of the incident.

"Our Cruise Director has advised that all guests are safe, however further assistance is available if required," Scenic said. 

AmaWaterways President Rudi Schreiner says that the cruise line did not have any guests present in Strasbourg at the time of the shooting, although the AmaStella did arrive in the city later in the evening.

“The Operations Team have lined up alternative excursions for our guests while in Strasbourg depending on the security advisory in effect,” Schreiner says. “Guests who do not wish to go into Strasbourg will have the option to visit the Christmas Market in Baden-Baden, Germany. The safety and security of our guests and crew is paramount and we have specific security measures in place on board the ships. We currently have no plans to alter any itineraries.”

A spokesperson for Avalon Waterways tells Travel Agent that the line did not have any ships or guests in the area at the time of the attack.

“We were saddened to hear of the events near Strasbourg’s Christmas market,” Avalon said. “The Christmas spirit on display there - and enjoyed by locals and travelers alike - is beyond special…our thoughts are with those affected by it.”

“Currently, this situation does not affect any Crystal River Cruises itineraries,” a spokesperson for the cruise line tells Travel Agent. “However, as with any port of call, Crystal recommends that our guests exercise caution when ashore.”

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