Authorities in France have said an operation is underway after a vehicle drove into a group of soldiers in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret on Wednesday morning.
The attack took place at around 8 a.m. local time. Six soldiers are injured, three of them seriously, a statement by the Ministry of the Armed Forces said.
A police spokesman anonymously told AP that the vehicle appeared to have targeted the soldiers on purpose, although the motive is not clear.
The French national police later said that a serious crime unit had intercepted a suspicious vehicle on the A16 road to the north of Paris early Wednesday afternoon local time, and that searches of the vehicle were ongoing. This development came as multiple French media outlets, citing anonymous security sources, reported that an arrest had been made in relation to the incident.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said that a counterterrorism investigation had been opened, aimed at pursuing any assailant on terror-related charges of the attempted murder of security forces.
Patrick Balkany, the mayor of Levallois-Perret, told BFM Paris that the incident was “an odious attack” and he was in “no doubt” it was carried out deliberately.
He said the vehicle was a BMW car that was waiting in an alleyway before speeding up.
The soldiers were taking part in a changeover of troops at their barracks at the time, and are part of Opération Sentinelle — the ongoing military operation put in place since a state of emergency was introduced following the January 2015 terror attacks in Paris.
France’s Interior Minister Gérard Collomb — who was in the weekly council of ministers at the presidential Elysée Palace as reports of the incident emerged — tweeted that he was on his way to Levallois-Perret.
“I am going to the bedside of the injured, alongside the minister for the armed forces, in support of the forces of Sentinelle,” he said.
Collomb later said that the attack was the eighth on French security forces since January 2015, and that the threat in the county “remains extremely high.”
In a statement, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said she “condemned the attack in the strongest terms” and said the ministry will give its “full support to the wounded, as well as their comrades and families.”
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