Vehicle Rams Into Soldiers in Paris Suburb, Injures Six

In a 'deliberate' attack, car accelerated into group of soldiers ■ suspect arrested Wednesday afternoon following a shootout which injured one policeman

Police work near the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, France on August 9, 2017.
BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

A car rammed into a group of soldiers in a Parisian suburb on Wednesday, injuring six before speeding off in what its mayor called a deliberate act. 

Levallois-Perret Mayor Patrick Balkany said the car, a BMW, was parked in an alley before it accelerated into the soldiers as they left their barracks to go on patrol duty. 

Police said two of the six were seriously injured. 

Speaking to broadcaster BFM TV, Balkany said that what he called a "disgusting" act of aggression was "without any doubt" premeditated. 

French officials said police arrested a man on a highway north of Paris on Wednesday afternoon. Two officials said it is too early to say for certain that the man was the driver who rammed a car into soldiers in the Paris suburb of Levallois on Wednesday. The suspect was not armed, but one policeman was wounded by a stray bullet during the shootout.

The driver's motive was unclear, but officials said he deliberately aimed at the soldiers, and counterterrorism authorities opened an investigation.

France remains on maximum alert after a string of attacks in which Islamist militants or Islamist-inspired attackers have killed more than 230 people over the past two years. 

The Place de Verdun square, where the incident took place, is in the center of Levallois, located on the western edge of Paris. The area was quieter than normal in peak summer holiday season, and was cordoned off after the incident, which happened at around 8:00 a.m., police said. 

Levallois-Perret is about 5 km (3 miles) from city centre landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Elysee Presidential Palace.