Man in car am­bushes sol­diers

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Angela Charl­ton and Raphael Satter

LE­VAL­LOIS-PER­RET, FRANCE» A man rammed his car into a group of sol­diers near Paris, in­jur­ing six of them, and he was cor­nered by po­lice in a high­way man­hunt — the lat­est in a dis­turbingly fa­mil­iar pat­tern of at­tacks tar­get­ing French se­cu­rity forces.

It’s un­clear what mo­ti­vated the driver, who was hos­pi­tal­ized with bul­let wounds af­ter the morn­ing am­bush and an hours­long po­lice chase. Au­thor­i­ties said he de­lib­er­ately ac­cel­er­ated his BMW into a clus­ter of sol­diers in what pros­e­cu­tors are in­ves­ti­gat­ing as a po­ten­tial ter­ror­ist at­tack.

Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron went to Twit­ter to ex­press his “con­grat­u­la­tions to the forces of or­der that ap­pre­hended the per­pe­tra­tor of the at­tack.”

Macron’s gov­ern­ment painted the inci- dent in the sub­urb of Le­val­lois-Per­ret as proof of the need to ap­prove a new se­cu­rity law that crit­ics con­tend in­fringes on lib­er­ties and would put France in a per­ma­nent state of emer­gency.

Wed­nes­day’s at­tack caused no deaths but still set nerves on edge: It was the sev­enth at­tempted at­tack on se­cu­rity forces guard­ing France this year. While oth­ers have tar­geted prom­i­nent sites such as the Eif­fel Tower, Wed­nes­day’s at­tack hit the leafy, af­flu­ent sub­urb of Le­val­lois-Per­ret, which is home to France’s main in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, the DGSI, and its coun­tert­er­ror­ism ser­vice.

“We know it was a de­lib­er­ate act,” In­te­rior Min­is­ter Ger­ard Col­lomb said. De­fense Min­is­ter Florence Parly called it a re­minder that ex­tra se­cu­rity mea­sures im­posed in re­cent years are “more nec­es­sary than ever.”

On a quiet sum­mer morn­ing, the sus­pect was seen wait­ing in a black BMW in a culde-sac near Le­val­lois City Hall and a build­ing used as a stag­ing point for sol­diers in France’s oper­a­tion to pro­tect prom­i­nent sites, ac­cord­ing to two po­lice of­fi­cials.

Some sol­diers emerged from the build­ing to board ve­hi­cles for a new shift when the car sped up and rammed into them, its force hurl­ing the sol­diers against their van, one of the of­fi­cials said. Col­lomb said the car first ap­proached slowly then sped up about 5 yards from its tar­get.

A nearby res­i­dent de­scribed hear­ing an ear-pierc­ing scream of pain, then sol­diers chas­ing af­ter the flee­ing car. Na­dia LePro­hon was star­tled by a loud crash out­side her build­ing and rushed out­side her sev­en­th­floor win­dow to see two sol­diers on the ground. Other sol­diers ran af­ter a speed­ing car, shout­ing “Af­ter him! Fol­low that car!”

“I’ll never for­get that scream — a scream of pain and dis­tress,” she said.

Philippe Huguen, AFP

Po­lice of­fi­cers and emer­gency work­ers sur­round a BMW, with bro­ken wind­shield at cen­ter, on the A16 high­way in France. Po­lice chased, shot and wounded a man sus­pected of ram­ming a car into sol­diers in a Paris sub­urb.

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