Strasbourg attack victims honoured


People lighting candles and leaving flowers at a makeshift memorial at Place Kleber in Strasbourg to pay tribute to the victims of the attack, on Dec 16, 2018.
People lighting candles and leaving flowers at a makeshift memorial at Place Kleber in Strasbourg to pay tribute to the victims of the attack, on Dec 16, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

STRASBOURG, FRANCE (AFP) - Several hundred people gathered in Strasbourg on Sunday (Dec 16) to honour the victims of an attack on the city's popular Christmas market that left four dead.

People, many in tears, gathered around a makeshift shrine of flowers and candles at the foot of the enormous Christmas tree at Kleber Square, in the city centre.

The ceremony, organised by local rights associations with the approval of the city authorities, included music, singing and several readings.

The traditional minute of silence was replaced by a minute of noise, during which people shouted and applauded to express their solidarity with the victims.

Earlier on Sunday, police in the eastern French city, which is home to the European Parliament, released two close associates of the attacker, Cherif Chekatt, who was on a French list of possible extremist security risks.

With the release on Saturday of Chakett's parents and two of his brothers, that leaves only one person of the seven originally detained still in custody.

Chekatt was shot dead by police on Thursday after a manhunt that involved more than 700 members of the security forces.

The 29-year-old native of the city attacked Strasbourg's Christmas market on Tuesday armed with a gun and a knife, killing four and wounding 11 others.

Police have been focusing their investigation on whether Chekatt had any help in carrying out his attack or during the two days he was on the run.

France's Interior Minister on Friday dismissed a claim by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group that it was responsible for the attack.