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Strasbourg honours victims of terror attack as death toll rises to five

Sébastien Bozon, AFP | People light candles and deposit flowers at a makeshift memorial in Strasbourg on December 16, 2018.

Residents of Strasbourg gathered on Sunday at a memorial ceremony for the victims of a deadly shooting near the city’s famous Christmas market, as officials said a fifth victim had died of injuries sustained in the attack.

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More than 1,000 people, many in tears, gathered around a makeshift shrine of flowers and candles in the snow-covered city to take part in the memorial, which included readings, singing and a rendition of the national anthem, "La Marseillaise."

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 and their relatives.

The hour-long ceremony took place in Kleber Square, not far from where the gunman opened fire on shoppers on Tuesday night.

City's resilience

Addressing the crowd, Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries praised the city's resilience in the face of hardship.

The "extremely large crowd in the Christmas market" on Saturday "was an illustration of our commitment to the values on which our living together is based, which we will continue to defend against all those who want to attack it," Ries said.

Later in the evening, the prosecutor's office confirmed that a fifth victim had died of injuries sustained during the attack, in which 10 other people were injured, some critically.

Relatives named the victim as 36-year-old Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski, a Polish national who had been living in Strasbourg for the past 20 years.

Gunman a native of Strasbourg

A massive manhunt for the gunman ended Thursday night when the main suspect, Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, was killed in a shootout with police in the city neighborhood where he grew up.

The attack remains under investigation. The Paris prosecutor's office said two people who were close to Chekatt were released from custody Sunday "in the absence of incriminating elements at this stage."

Only one of the seven people authorities detained while searching for Chekatt is still being held.

Chekatt's parents and two of his brothers, who were held for questioning for several days, were released on Saturday.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

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