At least three people were killed and another 12 were wounded in Strasbourg, France, after a gunman opened fire near a crowded Christmas market at about 8:00 p.m. Tuesday evening. Police said late Tuesday that the gunman remained at large. Two police union officials had earlier put the death toll at four before Interior Minister Christophe Castaner confirmed early Wednesday that three people were killed. A source close to French counter-terrorism operations told The Daily Beast the alleged shooter was known to authorities, who had opened a file on him, called a Fiche S, as a possible terrorist suspect. He was reported to have fled the scene, and possibly engaged in a gunfight with police. The French cable news channel BFMTV reported that the suspect is 29 years old and had gone on the run earlier in the day when his residence was searched in connection with a holdup. The report claims two grenades were found in the house. The attacker may have been injured in a shootout with police after the murders near the Christmas Market.
As reported on Saturday in The Daily Beast, French intelligence services have been quietly but seriously concerned that with all the unrest in the country surrounding the so-called Yellow Vest uprising against the government, jihadist cells or individuals largely held in check for the last two years might be tempted to exploit the chaos. Strasbourg, home to the European Parliament, has been the target of several terrorist plots over the years, including a conspiracy to bomb the famous Christmas market in 2000. That was thwarted by French and German authorities, but the jail terms handed down to the four convicted terrorists were such that all would have been freed by now, unless other charges were brought against them.
— Christopher Dickey