Police vehicles move at the centre of the city of Strasbourg following a shooting, eastern France. Picture: AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias

Berlin, Germany - The suspect in the deadly shooting attack at a Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg was jailed for burglary in Germany before being expelled to France, German authorities said Wednesday.

The 29-year-old suspect was sentenced to two years and three months for burglaries in the city of Mainz and in Baden-Wuerttemberg state, and jailed in 2016.

"He served a year in Germany before being expelled to France," a spokesman from Baden-Wuerttemberg's interior ministry told AFP.

According to the Tagesspiegel newspaper, the man broke into a dentist practice in Mainz, Rhineland Palatinate state, in 2012, making away with cash, stamps and gold used for teeth fillings.

Four years later, he hit a pharmacy in the Lake Constance town of Engen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, pocketing cash.

German authorities were on the lookout for the fugitive "along the Rhine" river region, the ministry spokesman said.

"But at the moment we do not believe that he has crossed into the country," he added.

The gunman opened fire Tuesday evening at the famed Strasbourg Christmas market, which draws thousands of visitors every year.

The shooting left three people dead and 13 wounded. 

French authorities said the attacker had been on their list of extremists and "is actively being hunted by security forces". 

AFP