A lone gunman is being hunted by police in Paris after opening fire with a shotgun at the offices of Liberation, a left wing newspaper, and the headquarters of bank Societe Generale before escaping in a hijacked car and making his way to the Champs-Elysees avenue.
The attacks too place mid-morning, with the gunman first taking on the office of the Liberation, near the Place de la Republique in east-central Paris, critically hurting a photographer, 23, before fleeing.
An hour and half later, he fired several shots into the lobby of the headquarters of Societe Generale in the La Defense business district, a few miles from the centre of Paris. No one is so far reported as being hurt by the gunfire at Societe Generale. The attacks took place mid-morning.
The police are believed to be looking for the same man who broke into the Paris offices of the 24-hour news channel BFMTV last Friday, threatening journalists with a gun before disappearing. He did not indicate his motive for any of the attacks but is reported to have told one BFMTV editor: “"Next time, I will not miss you."
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins has released surveillance photographs said to show the suspect. He told journalists that given the similarities between the incidents, authorities are favouring the hypothesis that there is one person responsible for all the attacks.
The suspect is of European type, with salt-and-pepper hair, and possibly 2 or 3 days of stubble, aged 35-45 years old, he said. The suspect was wearing a black vest, a cap and white-soled green shoes.
So far, police have found two types of 12-gauge shotgun cartridges at both the Liberation and BFMTV’s attack locations. Molins says the cartridges are undergoing tests for possible DNA evidence.
President Francois Hollande, speaking from Jerusalem, said he had asked his interior minister to use all possible means to find the gunman, "who tried to kill and could still do so".
"Freedom of the press is being targeted," Hollande told French media from Israel.
Police have now been stationed outside all the main media offices in Paris.