A massive manhunt involving hundreds of police and soldiers was underway Wednesday for a suspected extremist who yelled "God is great!" in Arabic during a shooting spree around one of Europe's most famous Christmas markets.
The assault in the eastern French city of Strasbourg killed two, left one person brain dead and injured 12 others, authorities said.
Police union officials identified the suspected assailant as Frenchman Cherif Chekatt, a 29-year-old with a thick police record for crimes including armed robbery and monitored as a suspected religious radical by the French intelligence services.
A senior Interior Ministry official said the suspect had been radicalized in prison and had been monitored by French intelligence services since his release in late 2015, because of his suspected religious extremism.
The government raised the security alert level and sent police reinforcements to Strasbourg, where hundreds of police and soldiers were involved in the search.
A terrorism investigation was opened, but the motive of the attack is unclear.