After a series of attacks in France by Islamist gunmen security had been stepped up at Strasbourg Christmas market, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitorsABDESSLAM MIRDASS/GETTY IMAGES

French anti-terrorism police were hunting a gunman this morning who killed at least three people and injured 12 near one of the country’s most popular Christmas markets in Strasbourg.

The attacker was wounded by police. Armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, he exchanged shots with officers and hijacked a taxi to flee. Police conceded that he may have left the city.

One of those injured in the attack was a soldier who was part of a military patrol guarding potential terrorist sites. Six of the victims were severely injured.