Three dead after Christmas market terrorist attack in Strasbourg

One of Europe's most famous Christmas markets in Strasbourg, France was the scene of a horrific terrorist attack as a gunman sprayed automatic weapon fire into the crowd. 

At least three people are dead and another dozen wounded in what French authorities have been reluctant to describe as a Muslim terror attack.

This despite several witnesses reporting that the shooter, Cherif Chekatt, shouted "Allahu akbar" during the attack and authorities admitting he was on the French terrorist watch list.


French police union officials confirmed on Wednesday to the Associated Press that the suspect was 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, a Strasbourg resident with a police record in France and Germany who had been flagged for extremism.  His name had been widely reported by French media.

Paris prosecutor Remi Heitz said Wednesday that witnesses reported hearing the gunman shout "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," during the attack.  Prosecutors have launched a terrorism investigation into the shooting, but authorities have not yet confirmed a motive for the bloodshed.

If the guy had been a far-right nationalist nut job, do you think authorities would have been able to "confirm a motive" for the attack?

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

Strasbourg Mayor Ronald Ries was less ambiguous, declaring on Wednesday that what happened in his city, "was undisputably [sic] a terrorist attack."

Police detained five people in overnight searches around the city, Laurent Nunez, secretary of state for the Interior Ministry, said on France-Inter radio.  The hunt for Chekatt continued, however.

A law enforcement source told CBS News on Tuesday that the attacker used a long gun in his siege on the Christmas market.  His home was raided Tuesday morning in relation to a previous murder investigation, but officers failed to apprehend him in that raid. 

Nunez said eight of the injured were in serious condition, and the city mayor said some had head wounds.

France is already on edge from social unrest in the streets, and this won't help any.  In fact, it may contribute to the sense that government doesn't care about ordinary people.  President Macron's approval rating has already hit rock bottom at 18%.  It's going to drop even farther as evidence of incompetence from the security services emerges.

Chekatt was known to authorities as an extremist, they knew where he lived, they knew he was involved in other crimes, and they knew he was a threat.  Not to have eyes on this guy is extraordinarily lax.  What good is a terrorist "watch list" if you're not watching them?

The media are playing their usual games: he who shall not be named practicing a religion that cannot be spoken of.  I suppose a white nationalist could scream "Allahu akbar" when firing into a crowd of innocent civilians, but it hasn't happened yet. 

Checkatt has no known connection to ISIS, but terrorist message boards and chat rooms are full of congratulations.  The terrorist group has promised attacks this Christmas season.  Let's hope it's blowing hot air, and this is the last one.