Strasbourg Terror Suspect Identified, Known to Be a Radicalized Islamist

Paris public prosecutor: Strasbourg shooting suspect cried out 'allahu akbar,' according to witnesses

French police officers patrol next to Notre-Dame cathedral of Strasbourg following a shooting in the city of Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018
AP Photo/Jean Francois Badias

The man suspected of carrying out a fatal shooting attack in Strasbourg on Tuesday night had cried out "Allahu Akbar" during the attack, said Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz. 

"Considering the target, his way of operating, his profile and the testimonies of those who heard him yell 'Allahu Akbar', the anti-terrorist police has been called into action," Heitz told reporters on Wednesday. 

Police have identified the suspect as Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, who is on an intelligence services watch list as a potential security risk. 

Heitz also said the suspect, who allegedly killed two people and wounded 12 others at a French Christmas market, was injured, according to the driver of the taxi he used to escape.

Neighbors of the man suspected of attacking Strasbourg's Christmas market have described him as destabilized by his time in prison.

"You can just tell," said one of the young men from the apartment block where suspected gunman Cherif Chekatt lived, lightly touching the side of his head. They feared being publicly named because the gunman is still being hunted by police.

A neighbor, who also asked not to be named, said he was rarely home. She said she last saw him Monday from her window, which looks out on a common hallway, and he was with another man.

The lock of the door is broken at the suspect's apartment. Police were guarding the building where the gunman was believed to have lived, in an outer neighborhood of Strasbourg.

Heitz confirmed Chekatt has been convicted 27 times in France, Germany and Switzerland. 

The German BKA criminal police spokeswoman said Chekatt was imprisoned in Germany in 2016 and 2017 on theft charges, and was deported to France in 2017.

German authorities were cooperating closely with French officials as a manhunt continued for the suspected attacker, the spokeswoman said.