IS sympathiser shoots at US policeman

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A man claiming allegiance to the militant Islamic State (IS) group shot and seriously wounded a police officer in Philadelphia, opening fire multiple times at point blank range with a stolen weapon, police said on Friday.

The assassination attempt came amid heightened security in the United States following last month’s assault by a radicalised Muslim couple in California that killed 14 people, and the November terrorist attacks in Paris.

Police officer Jesse Hartnett, 33, was shot three times in his left arm as he sat in his patrol car late on Thursday in the north-eastern city. Police said they were astonished he survived.

Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross called the attack “absolutely chilling” and described the officer’s injuries as “very, very serious”.

Stills captured from video surveillance and released to the press show the suspect opening fire as he walks towards the patrol car, extending his arm into the vehicle and then continuing to fire as he flees on foot.

The officer exited his vehicle, despite being injured, and managed to return fire, hitting the suspect who was quickly arrested.

“He stated that he pledges his allegiance to Islamic State… and that is the reason he was called upon to do this,” homicide police Captain James Clark told a news conference.

Police said the suspect had a criminal record, but that it was unclear whether he acted alone or as part of a wider conspiracy.

“He doesn’t appear to be a stupid individual, just an extremely violent one,” said Ross.

Police said it was unclear how the suspect obtained the firearm, which was stolen from police in 2013.