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France

Police officer shot near Paris; two suspects sought

Pantin
Pantin RFI/Frédérique Lebel

A manhunt has been launched around Paris after a police officer was shot and wounded north-east of the city early Sunday by two men who escaped with his service weapon.

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The officer was confronted by two hooded men around 2 am while he was guarding an Interior Ministry building in Pantin, which houses vehicles for the national police, according to Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for the ministry.

The officer was shot in the abdomen but his bulletproof vest protected him from more serious injuries, Brandet told news agency AFP.

The victim was able to warn one of his colleagues on duty to lock down the building, who was then able to call for help.

The weapon was later found in the area by a special operations tactical unit, France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement Sunday.

"The two assailants left the scene and are being actively sought," he said, adding that investigators are looking to “determine their exact motive."

An initial investigation suggests it could have been a robbery gone wrong, said Brandet.

It is possible that the perpetrators stumbled onto the site because "no external signs on the building refer to the police," a judicial source has told AFP.

Security has been strengthened around Paris since the terror attacks in and around the city that killed 17 people, starting with a shooting at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

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