Man rams police vehicle in Paris' Champs-Elysees; attacker killed

Claudine Rigal
Juin 20, 2017

Authorities believe the suspect deliberately crashed a small white auto into the police van, which was part of a convoy driving down the Champs Elysees.

Two police officials told The Associated Press that a handgun was found on the driver, who they said was badly burned after the vehicle exploded.

Brandet said bomb squads were still securing the scene and that the attacker appeared to have acted deliberately.

Anti-terrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation into the incident that briefly sparked chaos on the world famous avenue.

- Last month, a man attacked an officer with a hammer at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, proclaiming, "This is for Syria", French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.

In April a gunman shot a police officer dead on the Champs-Elysees, three days before the first round of the French presidential election.

France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. And in July past year, a radicalised Tunisian man knocked down and killed 86 people as he rammed a truck through a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the Riviera city of Nice.

A police squadron was driving in the Champs-Elysees area when the driver intentionally drove a vehicle full of explosives and weapons into the first squad van. They identified the man as from the suburb of Argenteuil, and said he had an "S" file, which means authorities had been aware of potential links to extremism.

"We were waiting to cross the street and suddenly heard an explosion and the vehicle was in flames", said Eugenio Morcilla, who captured video after the collision.

A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts.

A judicial source said that attacker, whom officials said was a doctoral student who had shown no previous signs of radicalisation, had made a video swearing allegiance to Islamic State.

No police or bystanders were injured in the incident, which occurred near the Grand Palais exhibition hall.

Authorities advised people to avoid the area.

Additional police were deployed near mosques in London and other cities following the attack.

The police department tweeted the warning Monday without providing further details.

The reason for the operation remains unclear. Closed metro station Champs-Elysees-Clemenceau.

The interior minister said the current situation in France shows a new security law he is to present is needed to eventually "maintain a high security level" without the state of emergency.

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