Paris at­tacker dies af­ter ram­ming bomb laden car into po­lice con­voy

● Ve­hi­cle ex­plodes in shop­ping district ● No-one hurt in at­tempted at­tack

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By ELAINE GAN­LEY news­deskts@scots­man.com

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.”

PIC­TURE; GETTY IMAGES

0 Of­fi­cers pa­trol the Champs-el­y­see yes­ter­day af­ter the car ex­ploded, in­set

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