A vehicle plowed into a group of soldiers in a Paris suburb Wednesday [9 Aug] in what the local mayor said was “without a doubt” the work of a “terrorist.”
A SWAT team tracked, intercepted and shot the suspect five times while he was traveling on a highway around 150 miles north of Paris, officials told NBC News.
The suspect was not killed, and officers detained him and took him to hospital. He is a 36-year-old man of North African origin who lives in the Paris suburb of Sartrouville, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.
Earlier, French counterterrorism prosecutors opened an investigation after the suspect, driving a BMW, injured six soldiers by ramming them as they left their barracks in the Levallois-Perret region of the city.
The country’s Minister of the Armed Forces said three of the wounded soldiers were seriously injured but were not critical.
Patrick Balkany, mayor of Levallois-Perret, told NBC News earlier: “Without a doubt this is a terrorist attack … he deliberately drove out to hit the soldiers.”
He added that he was saddened at the attack, which was recorded on multiple surveillance cameras.
Jean Claude Veillant, who lives in an apartment above the square where the incident occurred, said he heard “a noise and then loud cries” just before 8 a.m. (2 a.m. ET).
“My wife and I we got up and went to the balcony,” said the 70-year-old. “There we saw bodies lying on the ground, soldiers were running and some soldiers were trying to help others who looked injured.”
The soldiers are part of Operation Sentinel, a large-scale security operation to patrol French towns and cities that was deployed after the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 2015.
France has been under a state of emergency since the coordinated terror attacks that killed 130 people in November that year.
Source: NBC News