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While the gunman "was clearly targeting foreigners," it was "not certain" that he was aiming to kill "Kurds in particular," French Interior minister Gerard Darmanin said.
The Paris prosecutor's office has confirmed that three people, including a woman and two men, were killed in Friday morning's shooting in central Paris.
French Interior minister Gerard Darmanin said the "exact motives of the killer" were yet unknown, but the suspect "obviously acted alone."
Darmanin, who arrived at the scene Friday afternoon, said while the gunman "was clearly targeting foreigners," it was "not certain" that the man was aiming to kill "Kurds in particular."
The suspect of French nationality was not on any radicalism watch lists, nor was he known for involvement in any of the recently dissolved extreme-right groups or other political movements, the minister said.
However, clashes broke out near the shooting scene Friday afternoon between members of the Kurdish community and the police, with the latter launching tear gas.
Speaking to reporters at the shooting scene, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau confirmed that the suspect had two earlier criminal records.
The 69-year-old retired train driver was indicted for violence of racist nature with a weapon and premeditation for injuring two with a knife in a migrant camp in east Paris last year.
French President Emmanuel Macron described the shooting as a "heinous attack" in the heart of Paris.
The suspect opened fire Friday morning in three places on a street of the 10th arrondissement: a Kurdish community center, a restaurant and a hair salon.
Apart from the three killed, three others were injured, one of whom is in critical condition. An investigation was launched immediately after police arrested the suspect at the scene.