Paris attack: Six French soldiers injured after being 'deliberately' hit by BMW in suspected terror attack

Mayor of Levallois-Perret denounces 'intolerable attack' on military

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 09 August 2017 08:13
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Paris attack: Six injured as vehicle hits soldiers

Six French soldiers have been injured after a car slammed into them before speeding off in a suspected terror attack in Paris.

The BMW was parked in an alley before it accelerated into the soldiers as they left their barracks to go on patrol, Patrick Balkany, the mayor of Levallois-Perret, said.

"The vehicle did not stop. It hurtled at them... it accelerated rapidly," he told broadcaster BFM TV.

"Without any doubt, it was a deliberate act," Mr Balkany told broadcaster BFM TV. He went on to denounce the "intolerable attack" on the military.

A man has been shot and arrested by elite police officers on a motorway in northern France in the search for the driver.

Three of the soldiers suffered slight injuries while three were more seriously injured, but their lives are not in danger, according to the Defence Ministry.

Police and soldiers secure the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret

Authorities are checking video surveillance of the area, near the city hall of Levallois, north west of Paris, to identify the vehicle and hunt down the driver.

Florence Parly, the country's armed forces minister, said the driver was on the run and being sought, and an investigation was under way to determine "the motives and circumstances" for what she called a "cowardly act".

Officials and rescuers gather near vehicles after a car slammed into soldiers on patrol in Levallois-Perret

One official said the attacker struck in the Place de Verdun just as a group of soldiers emerged from the building to board vehicles for a new shift.

A security perimeter has been installed around the scene, and the defence minister and interior minister were expected to visit wounded soldiers later in the day.

A police investigator and an armed soldier work near the scene

French counter-terrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation into the attack.

No one has been specifically named in the investigation yet, but it is aimed at pursuing perpetrators on charges of attempted murder of security forces in connection with a terrorist enterprise, the prosecutor's office said.

The move means authorities believe the attack was deliberate and planned with a terrorist motive.

France's interior minister said the driver intentionally targeted soldiers in a calculated car attack.

Gerard Collomb told reporters the attack marks the sixth time soldiers with the Sentinelle operation have been targeted.

He said it showed the importance of a new terrorism law permanently enshrining some aspects of the state of emergency in place in France since 2015.

France remains in a state of emergency following a string of terror attacks in which Islamist militants or Islamist-inspired attackers have killed more than 230 people over the past two years.

Operation Sentinel has seen soldiers regularly patrol the streets since the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

The attack comes four days after a teenager with psychiatric problems tried to attack security forces guarding the Eiffel Tower.

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