Two people have been killed and 10 others wounded in a shooting in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, officials say.

Police said the gunman had been identified and was being pursued. He had been injured in an exchange of gunfire with a soldier, they said.

The shooting is said to have happened close to a Christmas market in one of the central squares, Place Kléber.

France’s counterterrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation.

Confirming the death toll had risen to two, the French interior minister, who is on the way to the city, called it a “serious public security incident”.

Security officials have cordoned off the area around the Christmas market and trams have been stopped, according to reports.

Residents in the Neudorf area and Etoile park, some 15 minutes away, have been urged to stay indoors.

The motive for the attack is unclear. The Christmas market has been the target of threats from Islamist extremists in the past.

Eyewitness Peter Fritz said he heard gunfire and found a person who had been shot, lying on a bridge. He said he tried to revive him but the man died.

Some unconfirmed reports said three people had died.

Local journalist Bruno Poussard wrote on Twitter that there had been a dozen shots fired on his street in the city Centre one or two, to begin with, then in bursts.

Emmanuel Foulon, a press officer for the European Parliament, wrote that there was “panic” in the center following the sound of gunfire and that police with guns were running through the streets.

Strasbourg deputy mayor Alain Fontanel tweeted: “Shooting in downtown Strasbourg. Thank you all for staying home while waiting for a clarification of the situation.”

A shopkeeper said There were gunshots and people running everywhere. It lasted about 10 minutes.”

The European Parliament, which has a base in Strasbourg, was sealed off with no-one able to leave or enter the building.

British MEP Richard Corbett tweeted that he was in a restaurant in the city and the doors had been locked.

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