10 Aug 2017

Arrest after Paris soldiers hit by car

6:42 am on 10 August 2017

Police in France have shot, wounded and arrested a man after a dramatic car chase along a motorway in the north of the country following an attack on soldiers in Paris.

Emergency services surround the BMW after a high-speed motorway chase

Emergency services surround the BMW after a high-speed motorway chase Photo: AFP

A bullet-holed BMW could be seen where police brought it to a halt.

Earlier, six soldiers were wounded after a car was driven at them near their base in Levallois-Perret.

The Paris prosecutor described the attack as "attempted killings... in relation to a terrorist undertaking".

Reports say one policeman was injured during the arrest operation on the A16 motorway at the town of Marquise near the port of Boulogne.

The BMW is said to have hit at least one other vehicle during the chase and the police opened fire several times. The suspect is in his 30s.

Three of the soldiers are now known to have been seriously wounded in the Paris attack. All were taken to hospital, though none is in a life-threatening condition, Defence Minister Florence Parly said.

The motivation for the attack is as yet not known, but France, which is contributing to the fight against so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has frequently been the target of attacks by Islamist militants.

A state of emergency in force since November 2015 includes highly visible patrols under Operation Sentinel, numbering some 7000 troops.

On 13 November 2015, 130 people were killed in a night of carnage in Paris, and more than 100 have been killed in jihadist attacks since.

They include a string of assaults on the heavily armed security forces who now dot the streets of the capital - the last only four days ago.

Wednesday's attack at about 8:15am local time took place in a pedestrian zone near the soldier's base on the Place de Verdun in Levallois-Perret.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the car had been driven deliberately at the troops and the attack had been carried out by a "man on his own".

It was driven slowly until it came within 5m of the patrol before accelerating towards them, he said.

The local mayor, Patrick Balkany, told BFMTV a vehicle had been waiting in the road for the soldiers to emerge as they came on duty.

"It was a BMW which accelerated very quickly the moment they came out."

A resident in a nearby block of flats, Jean-Claude Veillant, told reporters he had seen the immediate aftermath of the attack.

"I heard a loud noise, the sound of scraping metal. Shortly after, I saw one of the badly wounded lying in front of the Vigipirate [army patrol] vehicle and another one behind it receiving treatment," he said.

Recent attacks on Paris security services

  • Last Saturday, a young man tried to force his way into the Eiffel Tower with a knife, shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest"). A source said he told investigators he wanted to kill a soldier
  • In June, police shot a man who attacked an officer with a hammer outside the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris
  • In April, an attacker shot dead a policeman on the Champs-Elysees. The assailant, later named as convicted criminal Karim Cheurfi, was shot dead by security forces
  • In February, a man armed with a machete attacked a security patrol at Paris's Louvre Museum

- BBC

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