Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Car rams police van on Champs-Elysees, armed suspect dead

Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 02:29

A driver died after deliberately ramming his vehicle into a police van as it drove down Paris' Champs Elysees avenue, police said, adding that no officers or bystanders were injured and the situation was under control.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the incident was apparently deliberate.

The small white auto caught on fire after the collision, but neither officers nor members of the public were hurt, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

A hooded police officer secure the area on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, Monday, June 19, 2017.

Officials were subsequently quoted as saying that an attacker had been "downed", and were quick to reassure the public that there had been no casualties from the incident.

The Paris prosecutor's counter-terrorism unit has now opened an investigation into the incident.

- In April, a man shot at police officers - also on the Champs-Elysees - killing one officer and wounding two others.

"The show must go on", the daughter said in English.

Collomb told reporters the attempted attack on security forces showed the terror threat was "still very high in our country" and justified extending to November the state of emergency France has been under since late 2015.

Favereau said he saw flames coming from the auto and police smashing its windows and dragging the driver out.

He said police broke the window and pulled the man from the auto while other police used fire extinguishers to put out the blaze.

- Last month, a man attacked an officer with a hammer at Notre-Dame Cathedral, proclaiming, "This is for Syria", Collomb said.

Mr Brandet said bomb squads were still securing the scene.

Police had earlier warned people to avoid the neighborhood, one of the French capital's most popular with tourists.

Authorities advised people to avoid the area.

Police sources told French media the attacker was a 31-year-old French national from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil whose name was on a terror watchlist because of his known links with suspected extremists.

The French national gendarmerie service says the driver of a auto that rammed a law enforcement vehicle has been arrested.