A man charged with attacking migrants last year has allegedly perpetrated a heinous attack against foreigners in Paris. Tragically, three people have been killed and further three wounded at the Kurdish cultural centre - an incident which shook this community to its core and sparked clashes between enraged Kurds and law enforcement personnel.
It also rattled merchants in the bustling neighbourhood in central Paris on the eve of Christmas weekend and put officers on alert for more violence.
Authorities revealed that a 69-year-old Paris resident, who had recently been released from prison for assaulting migrants in their tents, was behind the shooting. The attack raised questions about possible racial motivations and is being investigated as such.
Last night in Paris, a single suspect set fire to garbage bins with the specific aim of targeting foreigners; an act viewed as abhorrent and intolerable by French President Emmanuel Macron who tweeted his sympathies for those affected. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has confirmed that there are no associations between this terrible event and any radical movements.
A wave of horror swept through Paris' Kurdish community after a devastating act that many perceived to be an atrocity of terror. Warnings from police about potential attacks on Kurds had only been issued days before, and the populace's sadness quickly turned to distress as they called for justice. Chief Prosecutor Laure Beccuau acknowledged their anguish saying terrorism prosecutors were already working with investigators, though no definitive motive was declared yet.
On Friday night, members of the Kurdish community in France gathered for an urgent meeting to address security concerns after a shocking attack during midday hours. The incident left local residents and businesses shaken as Paris was preparing for Christmas festivities. Mayor Alexandra Cordebard reported that both a cultural centre and neighbouring restaurant/hairdresser were hit by gunfire at this time.
As she spoke, a crowd nearby chanted, "Erdogan, terrorist" - referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - and "Turkish state, assassin."
A construction worker who was on a job nearby described seeing the assailant go first to the cultural centre, then to the restaurant and then the hairdresser.
The construction worker told The Associated Press that he saw the assailant injure three people, then two passersby intervened and stopped the attacker.
In 2013, three women Kurdish activists, including Sakine Cansiz - a founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK - were found shot dead at a Kurdish centre in Paris. A Turkish citizen was charged with their killing, although suspicion also fell on the Turkish intelligence service.
Turkey's army has been battling against Kurdish militants affiliated with the banned PKK, in southeast Turkey as well as in northern Iraq.
Turkey's military has also recently launched a series of strikes from the air and with artillery against Syrian Kurdish militant targets in northern Syria.
The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation in Turkey, Europe and the United States, and has led an armed insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
France was hit by a string of deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in 2015-2016 and remains on alert for terrorism-related violence.