Gunman attacks Paris newspaper, bank

A man armed with a hunting rifle burst into the building that houses the left-wing Libération daily at around 10.15 am and opened fire twice, hitting a photographer's assistant in the chest and abdomen.

The 27-year-old victim, who had just arrived at Libération's offices to assist in a photoshoot, was rushed to hospital, where he was fighting for his life, according to the paper.

Libération's offices are situated in the République district of central Paris.

The shooting at Libération was believed to be linked to a hold-up last week at the offices of BFMTV news channel, where a gunman threatened journalists Friday and then fled, without opening fire.

The man seen on CCTV images at BFMTV resembled the man who attacked Libération, according to police sources. He was described by witnesses as being in his forties and wearing a long khaki coat.

Société Générale
About two hours after the shooting at Libération, another shooting was reported outside the headquarters of Société Générale, France's second-biggest bank, at La Défense business district in the west of the city. No one was injured in that attack, which was confirmed by the bank.

It was not clear if the shootings were linked. Libération reported that a gunman at La Défense, believed to be the same man, then held up a car and forced the driver to take him to Champs-Elysées avenue.

A police helicopter flew over the Champs-Elysées and police vehicles were heard speeding to the scene. Police had been deployed around major news outlets as a security measure.

Libération's editor Nicolas Demorand said staff on the paper were "traumatised" by the attack.

At a press conference with Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who visited the scene of the shooting, he lamented a level of violence towards the media that was "far greater than … a few years ago."

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault condemned the "unspeakable" act as an attack on "one of the pillars of our democracy: press freedom". – Sapa-dpa

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