Family members of Strasbourg attacker released from custody

French authorities free parents and two brothers of Cherif Chekatt, who carried out attack at Strasbourg Christmas market.

Ben Ariel,

Police and rescue workers near scene of shooting in Strasbourg
Police and rescue workers near scene of shooting in Strasbourg
Reuters

Four family members of the gunman who went on a deadly shooting spree at the Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg were released from custody on Saturday, AFP reported.

Three more people close to the attacker Cherif Chekatt were still being held, said the Paris prosecutor's office.

But his parents and two of his brothers were freed "due to the lack of incriminating evidence at this stage", it added.

On Thursday, French authorities shot and killed Chekatt. He was spotted leaving a building in the Neudorf area of the city, where he lived. After firing on police, he was killed as they responded.

Chekatt murdered four people in the attack. The death toll rose to four on Friday when an Italian journalist succumbed to his wounds.

After Chekatt was eliminated, the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in its propaganda news agency Amaq that Chekatt was an ISIS "soldier" who "carried out the operation in response to call to target citizens of the international coalition."

However, France's interior minister dismissed the ISIS claim, according to AFP.

Police have been focusing their investigation on whether Chekatt had any help in carrying out his attack or while on the run.

In an interview broadcast on Saturday evening, a man identified as Cherif Chekatt's father said his son had become a follower of ISIS.

"He would say Daesh is fighting for a just cause," the man, named as Abdelkrim Chekatt, told France 2 television, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.




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