Paris attacker dies after ramming bomb laden car into police convoy
● Vehicle explodes in shopping district ● No-one hurt in attempted attack
A man who was known to French authorities was killed yesterday after ramming a car carrying explosives into a police vehicle in the capital’s Champs- ely sees shopping district, officials said.
No police officers or passersby were hurt when the vehicle exploded, the Paris police department said.
French interior minister Gerard Collomb said the man was killed after an attempted attack on a police convoy.
Mr Collomb said the attack shows France’s terror threat remains very high and justifies a state of emergency that has been in place since 2015.
The minister said he will present a bill tomorrow at a Cabinet meeting to extend the state of emergency from 15 July, when it is due to expire, until 1 November.
Mr Collomb said the current situation in France shows a new security law “is needed” and the measure would “maintain a high security level”.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into yesterday’s attack.
Two police officials said a handgun was found on the driver, who they said was badly burned after the vehicle exploded.
They identified the driver as a 31-year-old man from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil who had an “S” file, meaning he was flagged for links to extremism.
The terrorism incident is the second this year on the city’s most famous avenue.
An attacker defending the Islamic State group fatally shot a police officer on the Champs-elysees in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation.
Yesterday, police cordoned off a broad swath of the street after the latest incident, warning people to avoid the area.
Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-henry Brandet said the incident was apparently deliberate.
Police “pulled an individual out of the vehicle who had struck the car in front,” Mr Brandet told reporters. “Large numbers of police converged on the scene, firefighters to extinguish the fire.”
A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts.
Hours later, access to the avenue remained blocked, while bomb squads combed the area.
Eric Favereau, a journalist for Liberation newspaper who was driving a scooter behind the gendarmes, said he saw a car blocking the convoy’s path, then an explosion in the vehicle. Favereau said that the gendarmes smashed open the windows of the car while it was in flames and dragged out its occupant. Other gendarmes used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The account did not say what happened to the occupant of the car afterward.
Visitors to a nearby Auguste Rodin exhibition were confined inside the Grand Palais exhibit hall for an hour after the incident.
Victoria Boucher, who was in the city with her daughter Chrystel, said: “We were better off inside than outside. Unfortunately we now are used to this.”
“The show must go on,” her daughter said. “They won’t win.”
0 Officers patrol the Champs-elysee yesterday after the car exploded, inset