June 12, 2021

Paris attack: Man shot in hunt for BMW driver who mowed down six French soldiers

Paris attack: Man shot in hunt for BMW driver who mowed down six French soldiersCar rams into soldiers near their barracks outside Paris Vehicle took off after the incident, police say Officers involved in shootout on motorway in northern France Sources say one man was shot Local mayor says it was 'without a doubt a deliberate act' France has been in state of emergency since November 2015​ French police shot and arrested a suspect in a dramatic motorway chase Wednesday after a car smashed into soldiers outside a barracks in a Paris suburb, injuring six. The suspected terror attack is the latest in a string of assaults that have hit France since January 2015, claiming more than 230 lives. The servicemen were hit by a BMW which drove down a quiet street in the upmarket western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret at around 6am GMT. French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret Credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier It accelerated as it neared the troops, rammed into them and then sped away. "I heard a huge crash which I thought was the sound of scaffolding being put up," Thierry Chappe, a resident in a building opposite the crime scene, told AFP. Police later gave chase to the vehicle on a motorway north of Paris, and shot and wounded the suspect, a man aged in his late 30s who was also arrested, sources involved in the manhunt said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A police investigator and an armed soldier work near the scene where French soliders were hit and injured Credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier Interior Minister Gerard Collomb described the act as "deliberate" and carried out by a "man on his own". He spoke after visiting three of the injured soldiers along with Defence Minister Florence Parly. All six were taken to hospital, but none has life-threatening injuries, they said. They were part of the 7,000-strong anti-terrorism Sentinelle force set up in January 2015 which sees armed, uniformed soldiers patrol the streets and guard high-risk areas such as tourist sites and religious buildings. Police and soldiers secure the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret Credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier Collomb said the forces had been attacked on six different occasions since 2015. The country has been under a state of emergency since major attacks in Paris in November 2015. The Paris prosecutors' office said its anti-terrorism unit has launched a probe into "attempted killings... in relation to a terrorist undertaking". Mapped: Attack on soldiers in Paris The Islamic State group (IS) has repeatedly targeted France because of its participation in the US-led international coalition fighting the jihadist group, with French jets carrying out air strikes in Syria. "Security forces are actively seeking the perpetrator who is on the run. The ongoing probe will determine his motives and the circumstances in which he acted," Parly said in a statement earlier. France | Recent terror attacks 2012 - 2016   3:04PM 'Principal suspect' arrested, says French PM France's prime minister says the "principal suspect" in a car attack on soldiers has been arrested. Speaking to lawmakers, Edouard Philippe said the man was apprehended on a highway near Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France, and was driving the car used in Wednesday's attack, but gave no other details. Philippe also said that despite a "high threat" against France, the government is sticking to plans to lift a 21-month state of emergency. He insisted that a new government bill enshrining permanent counterterrorism measures would be enough to replace the state of emergency, imposed after deadly Islamic extremist attacks in November 2015. The bill is currently under parliamentary debate, ahead of an expected end to the state of emergency Nov. 1. 2:30PM Police find BMW The first picture of the car involved in the attack. Here police officers and emergency workers stand next to a damaged BMW car with a broken windscreen, after the police arrested a suspect on the A16 motorway, near Marquise, northern France The BMW involved in the attack Credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images   1:29PM Man shot in hunt for driver More on the shootout from the French international news agency AFP. 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 said. 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. 1:10PM Police 'involved in a shootout' BFM TV reports that elite police have been involved in a shootout on a motorway in northern France and have made an arrest. 12:44PM Driver 'intentionally targeted soldiers' France's interior minister says that a driver intentionally targeted soldiers in a calculated car attack, and that authorities are still searching for the perpetrator. Gerard Collomb told reporters that the attack near Paris Wednesday marks the sixth time that soldiers with the Sentinelle operation have been targeted. A Vigipirate logo is seen on a military van near the scene where French soliders were hit Credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier He said that shows the importance of a new terrorism law permanently enshrining some aspects of the state of emergency in place in France since 2015. Collomb and French Defense Minister Florence Parly visited injured soldiers at the Begin military hospital near Paris on Wednesday. Parly said they received "reassuring" news about three soldiers initially believed to be seriously injured. She did not provide further details on their conditions. The ministers said the six soldiers hurt in the attack notably suffered injuries to the face, knees, hands and arms. 12:24PM Police stop cars and drivers French police are stopping cars and drivers in the Paris region as they search for an attacker who rammed a dark-colored BMW into a group of soldiers before fleeing. A security official said Wednesday afternoon that authorities have carried out several stops but have not turned up a suspect or arrested anyone. Six soldiers were injured in the attack. Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said "all means are mobilized to neutralize the person or persons who are responsible." He said President Emmanuel Macron discussed the attack at a previously scheduled security meeting Wednesday and a subsequent Cabinet meeting. Two police officials say that authorities are focusing on a hunt for a single attacker but can't rule out that others could have been involved in the attack in the Paris suburb of Levallois. The officials say that surveillance cameras at the scene captured images of the car's license plate and details they hope will help in the search. The officials were not authorized to be publicly named. 12:22PM Witness heard screams of pain A witness to a car attack on French soldiers is describing an ear-piercing scream of pain and troops chasing after a speeding car. Nadia LeProhon was startled by a loud crash outside her building in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, and rushed outside to see two soldiers on the ground. Other soldiers ran after a speeding car, shouting "After him! Follow that car!" She said the scream that followed the crash was still echoing through her head. "I'll never forget that scream - a scream of pain and distress," she told The Associated Press. Resident Jean-Claude Veillant said he saw two uniformed soldiers prone on the ground when he came down to the entrance of his 13-story building. "It was horrible," he said, adding that both soldiers appeared to be in bad shape and one of them was unconscious. Police officials say the driver apparently ambushed the soldiers and rammed into them as they emerged from a building to approach their vehicles to start a new patrol shift. 10:40AM Residents thought attack was an exercise The Paris suburb where a vehicle rammed into soldiers is home to France's main intelligence agency and a staging point for soldiers assigned to protect prominent sites after recent attacks. Residents of Levallois-Perret are so accustomed to seeing security forces that resident Roseline Bailleux thought Wednesday's attack was an exercise. Officials and rescuers gather near vehicles after a car slammed into soldiers on patrol in Levallois-Perret Credit: THIERRY CHAPPE/AFP/Getty Images Bailleux, 67, was one of several people who said that the street where the soldiers were hit was nearly always thronged with soldiers. She was woken in the morning by her husband, who had noticed a crush of ambulances and emergency vehicles. "We thought it was an exercise," she said. Armed police secure the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret Credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier She said that area was popular with parents and their children but the attack happened when they weren't around. She said she had been touched by several previous attacks, including the 2015 gun rampage at the Bataclan music venue in Paris - which was next door to where one of her children lived - and the 2016 Nice truck attack, which happened near where she used to live. "I'm not going to stop walking through the park because of that. ... It can happen to anyone." 10:38AM Counter-terrorism investigation opened French counter-terrorism prosecutors have now opened their investigation into the attack, the Associated Press is has reported. 10:22AM Defence minister: It was a cowardly act French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Wednesday condemned a car ramming that injured six anti-terrorism soldiers in a Paris suburb as a "cowardly act". The incident, described by police as deliberate, "does nothing to dent soldiers' determination to work for the security of the French people," she said in a statement. 10:17AM Counter terror police not involved Counter terror police are still not involved in the investigation as the manhunt continues, Le Parisien newspaper reports, writes Oliver Gee. The paper reports that the soldiers were unable to give precise witness testimonies due to the speed at which events unfolded.  Military officers set up a security perimeter near the site Credit: EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON The soldiers were actually hit by their own vehicle, which had in turn been rammed by the BMW in question, Le Parisien adds. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo took to Twitter to share her support for the wounded soldiers. “I hope with all my heart that their attacker will be quickly arrested,” she wrote.  9:48AM Was the car crash deliberate? More from Oliver Gee, in Paris: The question that French media is asking is: Was the car crash deliberate? The mayor of the Levallois-Perret said it certainly was. The police have refused to comment.  Television station BFM said there are three hypotheses: A terror attack, a complete accident, or a mentally unstable driver. Witnesses have said the car was parked in a cul-de-sac before the incident and that the driver was alone.  The driver is understood to have ploughed into the soldiers during a changing of the guards on a side street. Police are still currently chasing the driver and on the lookout for the BMW he was driving.  Place de Verdun in Levallois-Perret where soldiers were hit. Hardly a main street. Town hall to bottom right. Mayor says 'deliberate act'. pic.twitter.com/3ZtoTD3USZ— Oliver Gee (@olivergee23) August 9, 2017   9:15AM Soldiers hit were part of Opération Sentinelle More details in from The Telegraph's Oliver Gee, in Paris. The incident occurred at 8am Paris time (7am GMT). Some media saying 8.15am. The soldiers were hit at Place de Verdun, a street not far from the Levallois-Perret Town Hall. The street has been cordoned off by police.  The two seriously injured soldiers were taken to a military hospital in Clamart, south west of Paris.  The soldiers hit were part of Opération Sentinelle that works for France’s State of emergency, which was brought in following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

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