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Strasbourg Christmas market re-opens

France 24, Dec 14

Strasbourg has reopened its popular Christmas market after police shot dead the gunman who killed three people there in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. 

Cherif Chekatt was killed late Thursday after a two-day man.hunt.

Police patrol spotted him on a street in the district where he was last seen after Tuesday night's attack on Christmas shoppers.

The lights on the market's towering Christmas tree were illuminated Friday for the first time since the attack ahead of the official re-opening of the market at 11:00 am.

“I hope life will get back to normal but I'm not too sure," said Franck Hoffmann as opened his wooden chalet offering Christmas candles and ornaments on Friday. "Business isn't going to be what it was," he predicted.

Questions remained over how Chekatt was able to evade the tight security perimeter set up for an event long known to be a prime target for jihadist groups.

Around 500 police, security agents and soldiers control access at checkpoints on the bridges leading to the river island, a UN World Heritage site, that houses the market.

The goal is to "create a bubble with searches at the entry points," Mayor Roland Ries said after the attack, while regional government representative Jean-Luc Marx said he had not determined "any flaws in the security measures".

Many residents, however, were not convinced after Chekatt managed to slip through the controls with a handgun and a knife.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Emeline, 38, who works in the city centre. "You wear a heavy coat, put something in the bottom of your bag. You can bring in what you want."

 

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