A suspected gunman, wanted over the shooting deaths of three people at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, has been killed, two police sources said, ending his 48 hours on the run.
Cherif Chekatt was killed in the Neudorf-Meinau area of the city after a police operation was launched around 9pm on Thursday, local time, about two kilometres from where he launched his attack on Tuesday.
Cherif Chekatt, inset, was killed in a shootout with police.Credit:AP
Chekatt was killed after firing on police officers, who returned fire, one of the sources said.
Witnesses heard three to four gunshots after a huge police operation with armed forces from the BRI and RAID units. A police helicopter had been circling overhead.
The death toll from Tuesday's attack rose to three as police on Thursday combed the city in the east of France for a second day and manned checkpoints on the German border.
Police issued a wanted poster in multiple languages for Chekatt, who was the main suspect in the attack and who had been on a watchlist as a potential security threat.
Police at the scene of the Christmas market shooting earlier in the week.Credit:AP
Authorities say the 29-year-old was known to have developed radical religious views while in jail.
Earlier in the day, armed and masked police swooped on Strasbourg neighbourhoods with elite RAID officers fanning out across three locations in late afternoon, including the area where Chekatt was last seen.
The Paris prosecutor's office said Chekatt's parents and two brothers were being held in custody.
Two of his sisters in Paris were also questioned on Thursday and one of their homes was searched, a judicial source said.
Neighbours on the housing estate where Chekatt family's lived described the suspect as a typical young man who dressed in jogging pants and trainers rather than traditional Islamic robes.
"He was a little gangster, but I didn't see any signs of him being radicalised," said a leader of a community group standing outside Chekkat’s apartment building, who asked not to be identified while discussing him.
The Strasbourg attack was the latest in a succession of attacks linked to Islamist militancy in France going back to March 2012. Since January 2015 more than 240 people have been killed in various attacks, although the last one had been in May.
With the gunman still on the run and officials dubbing the attack an act of terrorism, France raised its security threat to the highest level.
More than 700 police took part in the manhunt. French and German police had manned controls on either side of the Europe Bridge, which spans the frontier running along the Rhine river, causing hours of logjams.
The Christmas market, a hugely popular attraction in historic Strasbourg, will reopen on Friday, Castaner said.
People began returning to the area on Thursday with many marking their respects for the victims by leaving candles in the main Kleber square.
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