Strasbourgh which is referred to as the “Christmas Capital of France” was briefly under siege by a local resident who was heard by witnesses shouting “Allahu Akbar” before firing multiple gun shots into a crowd on rue des Orfèvres. After firing off his gun, the man drew a knife and attacked passers-by.
A 20-year old waiter who was on break during the attack recalled the incident:
“It lasted for minutes, but in my head it felt like hours. I was standing outside our restaurant having a quick cigarette break before the dinner service when I heard one bang and then another. I turned around and suddenly people were screaming and running, and I saw a man had been shot.”
The attack happened at around 7:50pm. The shots came from a lane located near the wooden huts of the Christmas market. Witnesses say the shooter was a man dressed in black.
According to reports, the alleged gunman was born in Strasbourg and had been sentenced 27 times for crimes ranging from robbery and violence. He had been arrested and charged in France, Germany, and Switzerland.
It has been disclosed in media reports that the man had been radicalized in prison.
The terror attack lasted for around 10 minutes. In addition to the Christmas shoppers and passers-by, the suspect also fired on soldiers who were dressed in military fatigues.
The soldiers were from Operation Sentinelle, a military unit that was established after the terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in January of 2015.
Return fire from the soldiers appeared to have hit the suspect in the hand. The police arrived and also fired back at the assailant.
The gunman then stopped a taxi and asked the driver to take him to an undisclosed location.
After the driver dropped the suspect in Neuhof, he went directly to the police. The driver told police the man bragged he had launched a terror attack that killed 10 people.
Preliminary investigation resulted in a raid at the suspect’s house where the police found guns, knives, and a grenade.
The gunman is still at large and is believed to have crossed the border to Germany.