Paris (CNN)French police are hunting a man identified by Belgian security services in connection with an attack on police officers in Paris Thursday, a French interior ministry spokesman said.
A gunman, who shot three police officers on the Champs-Elysee, killing one, was later claimed by ISIS through its media wing Amaq as an Islamic State “fighter” they dubbed “the Belgian.”
French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told France’s Europe 1 radio Friday that it’s too early to tell what role the second suspect played, if any, in the attack.
“There are probably, possible accomplices that need to be arrested which is why I won’t give you additional details,” he said.
Three of 11 presidential candidates have halted campaigning after the shooting, which came three days before French voters go to the polls.
Security in Paris has been building in recent days, but the presence of 50,000 police officers on the streets weren’t enough to prevent the latest assault, which a source tells CNN is being treated as an act of terror.
French President Francois Hollande convened a meeting of the country’s defense council Friday.
The gunman, who was shot dead by police, had a long criminal record, a source close to the investigation told CNN. He was the subject of a “Fiche S” surveillance file and was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.
A French national, the man shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car, according to the source. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer’s gun and shot him three times, the source added. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies.
With a record number of voters still undecided, analysts say the shooting could play into the narrative pushed by the far-right.
As of Friday morning local time, leading candidates Franois Fillon, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen had all canceled campaign events, with Macron citing the extra burden policing political rallies placed on the security services.
Speaking during a televised debate around the time of Thursday’s attack, Fillon said there was “no room for pursuing today or tomorrow an electoral campaign because first of all we have to demonstrate our solidarity with the police officers.”
Left-wing insurgent Jean-Luc Mlenchon warned against allowing panic to “interrupt democracy.”
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen said the attack showed the time for naivety “is over.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May also spoke to Hollande. In a statement, the UK government said it “strongly condemns the appalling terrorist attack in Paris.”
France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead. Parliament voted in December to extend the extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.