Man in car ambushes soldiers
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.
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.