Car rams into soldiers in Paris suburb in
suspected terrorist attack
Send a link to a friend
[August 09, 2017]
By Benoit Tessier and Richard Lough
PARIS (Reuters) - A car rammed into a group
of soldiers in a Parisian suburb on Wednesday, injuring six before
speeding off in what officials identified as a suspected terrorist
The vehicle, a BMW, was parked in an alley before it accelerated into
the soldiers as they left their barracks to go on patrol, said Patrick
Balkany, mayor of Levallois-Perret.
"The vehicle did not stop. It hurtled at them ... it accelerated
rapidly," he told broadcaster BFM TV.
Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly 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".
A justice ministry official said counter-terrorism investigators had
been assigned to the case.
The incident follows a string of Islamist-inspired attacks on soldiers
and police, who have been deployed in large numbers nationwide after
calls by militant group Islamic State for attacks on France and other
countries bombing its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
The soldiers hit on Wednesday were rushed to hospital and police said
two of the six were seriously injured.
Balkany said that what he called a "disgusting" act of aggression was
"without any doubt" premeditated.
Jean-Claude Veillant, resident of an apartment building directly above
the scene, witnessed part 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 told
France remains on maximum alert following a string of attacks over the
past two years in which Islamist militants or Islamist-inspired
attackers have killed more than 230 people.
[to top of second column]
Police secure the area near the scene where French soliders were hit
and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of
Levallois-Perret, France, August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Most were civilians killed in Paris in early and late 2015 as well
as in the southern seaside city of Nice in mid-2016, Since then a
string of attacks have primarily targeted police and soldiers.
This year, assailants attacked soldiers at the Louvre museum site in
Paris in February and at Orly airport in March. An assailant shot a
policeman dead on the Champs Elysees avenue in the capital in April.
Another man died after ramming his car into a police van in June and
soldiers disarmed a knife-wielding man at the Eiffel Tower earlier
The car in Wednesday's attack, which police said was dark-colored
and probably a BMW, was parked near the edge of the Place de Verdun
square in the center of Levallois-Perret, a relatively affluent
suburb on the western edge of Paris.
The area, quieter than normal in peak summer holiday season, was
cordoned off after the incident, which happened at around 8:00 a.m.,
Levallois-Perret is about 5 km (3 miles) from city center landmarks
such as the Eiffel Tower and the Elysee Presidential Palace.
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Caroline Paillez, Brian
Love and Johnny Coton; Writing by Brian Love; editing by John
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.