The Islamic State claimed responsibility after one police officer was killed in a rare exchange of gunfire on the famed Champs-Elysees in central Paris just days before a critical presidential election.

Two other officers were seriously wounded in the attack in the popular tourist area in central Paris. The gunman was killed by police.

The Islamic State identified the attacker as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki through its Amaq news agency, according to SITE Intel Group, a U.S.-based organization that monitors terrorists' activity online.

French President Francois Hollande said he is convinced the circumstances of the Paris shooting points to terrorist act, the Associated Press reported.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert tells The Associated Press that the attacker targeted police guarding the popular tourist area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet tells BFM television that a man stepped from a car and opened fire on a police vehicle. He says it is too early to say whether the attacker might have had an accomplice, and that authorities are studying multiple potential motives.

As police blocked off key roadways in the heart of the French capital and told people to avoid the area, the broad avenues leading to the Arc de Triomphe were awash in police vehicles decked with whirling blue lights.

A witness tells Reuters that one man got out of a car at the scene and began shooting with a machine gun.