PARIS : French police were Monday desperately trying to track down a gunman on the loose in Paris after a shooting at leftwing newspaper Liberation left a photographer fighting for his life. After fleeing the daily's office in the east of Paris, the shooter was thought to have crossed the city to the La Defense business district, where he fired several shots outside the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank, according to witness accounts.

Dressed in a long coat and cap, he then hijacked a car and forced the driver at gunpoint to drop him off close to the Champs-Elysees, triggering a huge police operation in and around the French capital's most famous avenue.