The Latest: French police step up hunt for Strasbourg gunman

The Latest on the attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France (all times local):

4 p.m.

AP journalists and a French police official say a police operation is going on in the Strasbourg neighborhood where a suspected Christmas market gunman was last seen.

One French police official said security forces, including the elite Raid squad, are taking action on Thursday based on a "supposition only" that the suspect, 29-year-old Cherif Chekkat, could be hiding in a nearby building. The official could not be identified because he was not allowed to disclose details on the investigation.

Authorities said a taxi driver dropped Chekkat off Tuesday evening in the Neudorf neighborhood, south of the eastern French city's center, after the shooting near the Christmas market. He is believed to be the gunman who left three dead and 13 wounded in an attack that night.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in Brussels where he is attending a European summit, said Interior minister Christophe Castaner will travel to Strasbourg on Thursday evening.

— By Elaine Ganley


10:30 a.m.

French security forces are trying to catch the suspected Strasbourg gunman "dead or alive" as the city in eastern France mourned with flowers and lit candles left at the site of the attack near its famous Christmas market.

More than 700 officers were involved Thursday in the manhunt for 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, who had a long criminal record and had been flagged for extremism, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews television.

Asked about instructions given to police forces, Griveaux said the focus was on catching the suspect "as soon as possible," no matter whether he was dead or alive, and "put an end to the manhunt."

Chekatt allegedly shouted "God is great!" in Arabic and sprayed gunfire during Tuesday's rampage near Strasbourg's Christmas market, which left three people dead and wounded 13 others.