Jittery Paris dodges terror massacre
Paris narrowly avoided another terrorism bloodbath Monday when a man plowed a car filled with gas canisters and guns into a police van on the Champs-Elysées — but killed only himself.
The attack comes two months after an ISIS gunman killed a police officer and wounded two others on the famed street.
Police did not identify Monday’s attacker, but officials told The Associated Press he was a 31-year-old from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil who was already flagged as a potential terrorist.
He had a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas canisters in the car when he rammed it into the van near the Grand Palais exhibition hall at around 3:40 p.m., police sources told Agence France-Presse.
The mix of arms and explosives was enough to “potentially blow this car up,” French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. Bystanders ran for their lives. “People were running every which way,” a 51-year-old man named Alexandre told AFP. “Some shouted at me to get away.”
France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when terrorists killed 130 people across Paris.