3 dead in Kurdish centre shooting in Paris; suspect held

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A shooting targeting a Kurdish cultural center in a bustling Paris neighborhood Friday left three people dead and three others wounded, au-thorities said. A 69-year-old suspect was wounded and arrested.

The Paris prosecutor said the suspect had recently been released from prison after attacking migrants living in tents, and that investigators are considering a possible racist motive for the shooting.

Skirmishes erupted in the neighbourhood a few hours after the shooting, as members of the Kurdish community shouted slogans against the Turkish government, and police fired tear gas to disperse the increasingly agitated crowd. Some garbage bins were set on fire.

The tensions occurred as Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was speaking to reporters nearby. Dar-manin said the attacker was clearly targeting for-eigners, but that police don’t have evidence at this stage that he was specifically aiming to hurt Kurds. Darmanin is holding a special meeting Friday night to assess threats targeting the Kurdish community in France.

Shocked members of the Kurdish community in Paris said they had been recently warned by police of threats to Kurdish targets, and demanded justice after the shooting.

Nearby residents and merchants were deeply rattled by the attack, which came as Paris is buzzing with festive activity before the Christmas weekend.

The shooting occurred at midday at a Kurdish cultural centre and a restaurant and hairdresser nearby, according to the mayor for the 10th arrondissement, Alexandra Cordebard.

As she spoke, a crowd nearby chanted, “Erdogan, terrorist” — referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — and “Turkish state, assassin.”

A construction worker who was on a job nearby described seeing the assailant go first to the cultural centre, then to the restaurant and then the hairdresser. The construction worker told The Associated Press that he saw the assailant injure three people, then two passersby intervened and stopped the attacker.—AFP