Strasbourg gunman ‘pledged IS allegiance’

The gunman who killed five people near a Christmas market in Strasbourg had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group in a video, reports say.

The video was found on a USB key belonging to Cherif Chekatt, 29, judicial sources told AFP news agency.

Chekatt was shot dead by police after a manhunt lasting two days.

IS said he was one of their “soldiers” after the 11 December attack but French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner cast doubt on this claim.

The group’s self-styled news agency Amaq said Chekatt had “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of coalition countries” fighting its militants in Syria and Iraq.

What else do we know about Chekatt?

Chekatt was born in Strasbourg and was already known to the security services.

He was on the “fiche S” watchlist of people who represent a potential threat to national security.

He had 27 convictions for crimes including robbery spanning France, Germany and Switzerland, and had spent considerable time in prison as a result.

Chekatt was killed in an exchange of fire with police in the Neudorf area and was later identified through his fingerprints.

Officers found an old gun, still loaded, some ammunition and a knife on his body.

Seven people were initially arrested in connection with the attack. Chekatt’s parents and two of his brothers were among those detained, but have since been freed.

Who were the victims?

Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski died at about 18:00 local time last Sunday (17:00 GMT). He had spent five days in a coma and never recovered.

His family had kept him on life support so that those close to him could come to say goodbye at the Hautepierre hospital in the city.

Kamal Naghchband was a garage mechanic originally from Afghanistan. The father of three had been visiting the market with his family and was shot in the head.

Anupong Suebsamarn, 45, was a Thai national on holiday with his wife.

Antonio Megalizzi, a 29-year-old Italian journalist, was critically injured in the attack and his death was announced three days later.

A retired bank worker aged 61, from Strasbourg, also died.

About 10 people remain injured, several seriously.

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