PARIS, France - A man is said to have opened fire on two policemen in central Paris, killing two officers and leaving one injured.
The incident that occurred on Thursday evening ended with the attacker dead too after being shot in return fire, police sources said.
The attack that took place on the Champs-Elysses left two other officers seriously injured.
The incident occurred in the area near the Marks & Spencer shop on the Champs Elysées and authorities subsequently closed the boulevard and the surrounding streets.
They informed the public to avoid the area.
Witnesses noticed that a helicopter was flying low over central Paris and was said to be part of a follow-up police operation.
In a statement, Pierre-Henry Brandet of the French interior ministry said the attacker had driven up to the site of the attack by car.
Brandet added that the attacker got out of the car and used an automatic weapon to fire on a police van.
He said, the attacker killed a police officer and seriously wounded two other officers.
He also tried to fire at others as he ran off before being shot dead by police.
Another injured officer is said to have succumbed to his injuries soon after.
The incident is being investigated by the Paris anti-terrorist police.
A police source has said that the attacker was “known to the authorities” and that a search operation had been launched at the attacker’s home east of Paris.
Earlier this week, Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said that authorities arrested two men in the southern city of Marseille for planning an attack during the presidential race.
Since then a high alert has been sounded, especially since the first round of the French presidential election is scheduled to be held on Sunday.
Security had already been stepped up at political rallies with authorities warning of an “imminent and violent attack” in the run-up to Sunday’s vote.
Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said that the attacker had targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the centre of the avenue.
French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation into the attack.