Man shot dead after policewoman injured in Nantes knife attack

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By Euronews  with AFP and AP
Over 200 officers were involved in the operation to arrest the attacker
Over 200 officers were involved in the operation to arrest the attacker   -   Copyright  LOIC VENANCE/AFP or licensors

A man stabbed a police officer in western France, on Friday, then shot two other officers before being killed in a shootout with police.

The three officers were wounded but none is in life-threatening condition, the gendarmes said.

After stabbing the first police officer in her station in the Nantes suburb of La Chapelle-sur-Erdre, the assailant took her gun and fled, according to the gendarme service.

A manhunt was launched which involved over 200 officers, two helicopters and three dog teams. When he was found, he is reported to have fired on officers trying to arrest him.

The suspect was gravely wounded in an ensuing shootout, and died on Friday afternoon of his injuries, according to a police official. The official was not authorised to be publicly named.

Police and ambulances blocked roads in the normally quiet, residential area after the stabbing.

The suspect also kidnapped a young woman for two and a half hours, Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennès said according to AFP, while attempting to flee police.

An investigation was opened for attempted murder of a municipal policewoman and gendarmes but also for the kidnapping of the young woman, the Nantes prosecutor said.

Schools in the vicinity were secured while the hunt was underway.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who was heading to the area, confirmed on Twitter that the suspect had been "neutralised."

Domestic security and attacks on police are a big political issue ahead of regional elections next month and France's presidential election next year.

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed that the suspect had been neutralised

It is the first time the police had been involved in a stabbing attack on a policewoman in the city and there was no immediate confirmation of the motive.

Two police employees have been killed in France in recent weeks. One was an administrative official stabbed to death inside her police station near Paris in what authorities are investigating as an Islamic extremist attack. The other was a drug squad officer shot to death in the southern city of Avignon.