The attacker who killed a French policeman and injured two of his colleagues on Thursday evening (20 April) on the Champs-Elysées in Paris was known to anti-terror police, according to local media.

The French authorities have yet to officially release the name of the assailant, identified as an ISIS fighter in a claim of responsibility for the attack by the Islamic State.

The ISIS statement, published by its propaganda agency Amaq, said: "The perpetrator of the attack in Champs Elysées in central Paris is Abu Yousif the Belgian, and he is one of the Islamic State's fighters."

A police document obtained by the Associated Press identifies the address searched in the town of Chelles, as the family home of Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old with a police record who reportedly also uses the alias Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki (the Belgian).

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said that he will officially identity the shooter at a news conference on Friday (21 April).

A second suspect in the attack has turned himself over to Belgian police after France was alerted about a potential accomplice.

paris-police-2-killed-1-wounded-in-avenue-des-champs-Elysees-shooting
A policeman was killed and two others injured in a shooting at Champs Elysees

Dangerous individual

Reuters reported a police arrest warrant was issued on Thursday which warned of a dangerous individual who had "come into France by train from Belgium on Thursday". It said it was not clear if the man sought in the arrest warrant was the attacker in Champs Elysees or was linked to the shooting.

The news agency said that the dead attacker was known to the French anti-terror police. Some local French media have published the name of the terrorist and claimed that the 39-year old was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to kill police officers in 2003.

According to news reports, the attacker had also made threats through Telegram, an instant messaging service, to kill more police.

They claimed that the French-born terrorist, who lived in Chelles, had opened fire on two police officers in 2001 after he was caught in a stolen car.

Citing police sources, the local media alleged that the assailant was released early from a high-security prison following an appeal. They also claimed that Abu Yussef was the registered owner of the grey vehicle used in the attack on the Champs-Elysées.

The last post on the Interior Ministry's Twitter page asks the public: "Do not spread any misinformation. Please only share information coming from a trusted source."

The shooting on the Champs Elysees took place at around 9pm local time when a car stopped in front of a police van, Pierre Henry Brandet, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said.

A man emerged from the car and opened fire on the van with an "automatic weapon", killing an officer instantly. The attacker than ran away and managed to shoot and wound two other policemen.

Brandet said the gunman was later shot dead by other policemen.

The attack took place just days before the first round of the French presidential election. Far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen has used terror attacks in France as a campaign issue, saying at an election rally that there would have been no terrorist attacks on the French territory had she been in power.