Police respond to gunfire in France

Four dead, ten injured in Christmas market shooting

TERRIFIED families attending one of the world's most famous Christmas markets are fleeing for their lives as a gunman - who opened fire on a crowd - is still at large.

Police have confirmed that four people have died in the horrific mass shooting so far.

Disturbing details of the mass shooting are emerging from France's east where the guman sprayed bullets into the massive crowd at Place Kleber, one of the central squares of Strasbourg, which hosts a famous Christmas market attended by millions every year.

Police say officers have exhanged fire with the gunman - who had been wounded by soldiers near the Christmas market where the shooting took place.

Four people have been confirmed dead and at least 11 people have been injured in the shooting so far - and police say the gunman is still at large.

Seven of the injured are said to be in a serious condition.

The gunman was due to be arrested by police earlier in the day over a separate attempted murder, a source close to the investigation told AFP.

Images from the scene show police officers, police vehicles and barricades surrounding the sparkling lights of the market.

A shopkeeper told French television network BFM TV: "There were gun shots and people running everywhere. It lasted about 10 minutes."

One witness, Peter Fritz, told the BBC he heard gunfire and found a person who had been shot, lying on a bridge. He said he tried to resuscitate him but the man died.

A local journalist, Bruno Poussard, described the terrifying scenes on Twitter. He wrote there had been a dozen shots fired on his street in the city centre - one or two to begin with, then in bursts.

France's Interior Ministry confirmed a "serious public security incident" in the city and warned residents to stay indoors.

Security officials have cordoned off the area and trams have been stopped, according to reports.

Strasbourg deputy mayor Alain Fontanel tweeted: "Shooting in downtown Strasbourg. Thank you all for staying home while waiting for a clarification of the situation."

Siegfried Muresan, European Parliament member, also based in Strasbourg, said the entire area was in lockdown.

Strasbourg's famous market is set up around the city's cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

It wasn't immediately clear if the market was the target of the attack or if there was any link to terrorism.

But France has been hit by several extremist attacks, including the 2015 Paris shootings, which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds, and a truck attack in Nice that killed dozens in 2016.

Some Strasbourg residents have reported on social media that they heard gunfire in some parts of the city center.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe tweeted that "the situation is still underway, priority is given to security forces and rescuers." President Emmanuel Macron has adjourned a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday night to be able to monitor the events, his office said.

Place Kleber hosts an annual Christmas market, which is known for its grand Christmas tree. It attracts millions of tourist every year.

It comes two years after a truck was deliberately driven into the Christmas market next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, leaving 12 people dead and 56 others injured.

Strasbourg, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) east of Paris, is the seat of the European Parliament and on the border with Germany.

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