Five held over link to gunman in Strasbourg market attack

French police officers block the road near the site where Cherif Chekatt, the alleged gunman who had been on the run since allegedly killing three people at Strasbourg's popular Christmas market, has been shot dead by police on Dec 13, 2018.
French police officers block the road near the site where Cherif Chekatt, the alleged gunman who had been on the run since allegedly killing three people at Strasbourg's popular Christmas market, has been shot dead by police on Dec 13, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - French police have arrested five people for allegedly helping supply a revolver used in a mass shooting at a Christmas market in the city of Strasbourg, sources close to the investigation said on Tuesday (Jan 29).

The five - four men, aged 32, 34, 65 and 78, and a woman, 57 - are all from the same family and were picked up in eastern France.

They are believed to have supplied a 19th-century 8mm pistol used by Cherif Chekatt, a small-time criminal who shot dead five people and wounded 11 during the Dec 11 attack on the open-air Christmas market.

In mid-December, another man, aged 37, was also arrested and charged in connection with supply of the weapon.

Chekatt, 29, who was on a special watchlist as a suspected radical Islamist, is believed to have obtained the pistol a few days before the attack.

He was shot dead by police after a two-day manhunt in the city on the German border.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed Chekatt was one of their "fighters", but this was dismissed by French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

Judicial sources said that Chekatt had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video found on a USB key.