French police locate car and arrest suspect over soldier attack
:: French security forces have shot and arrested a man suspected of being behind an attack on a group of soldiers on Wednesday morning in a Paris suburb, security sources told AFP.
The man, aged in his late 30s, was intercepted on a motorway north of the French capital in a vehicle used to drive into the soldiers, the sources said, asking not to be named.
The suspect slammed his car into soldiers on patrol outside Paris on Wednesday morning, injuring six people, two of them seriously, police said.
One source close to the case said the man had been stopped at the wheel of a BMW driving towards the northern port of Calais.
A second legal source added: “The arrested individual, born in 1980, is suspected to be the culprit” of the assault.
“He was driving the vehicle we were looking for and tried to flee,” the source added, leading police to open fire.
The vehicle took off after the incident, which took place at about 8:00 am (0600 GMT) in the northwestern suburb of Levallois-Perret.
Police described the incident as an “apparently deliberate act”.
The anti-terrorism unit of the Paris prosecutors’ office has launched a probe into the incident.
Paris prosecutors described in a statement the incident as “attempted killings” in relation to “a terrorist undertaking”.
The French Defense Minister Florence Parly also condemned the car ramming as a “cowardly act”. She said in a statement that this “does nothing to dent soldiers’ determination to work for the security of the French people”.
France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015 and has seen a string of attacks on security forces who have been regularly targeted, particularly those guarding key tourist sites.
An 18-year-old with a history of psychological problems was arrested on Saturday at the Eiffel Tower after brandishing a knife and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest).
He told investigators he wanted to kill a soldier, sources close to the case told AFP.
In February, a man armed with a machete attacked four soldiers on patrol at Paris’s Louvre Museum, while in April another extremist shot and killed a policeman on the Champs Elysees.
In June, a 40-year-old Algeria doctorate student who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame cathedral.