Man arrested after car hits soldiers in Paris suburb

Six troops were injured - three of them seriously

Man arrested after car hits soldiers in Paris suburb

Police work near the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret near Paris | Image: Geyres Christophe/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

Updated: 15.45

Police in France have shot and arrested a man after he rammed a car into a group of soldiers in western Paris before speeding off.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed the arrest of the 37-year-old man, who was stopped after a chase on a motorway north of Paris.

"A suspect who was driving the car involved in the attack has been arrested on the highway between Paris and Boulogne-sur-Mer," said Mr Philippe.

One policeman was wounded by a stray bullet during the arrest, which took place on the A16 motorway near Marquise, close to the ports of Boulogne-Sur-Mer and Calais.

A Reuters witness at the scene saw ambulances surround a BMW car which had several bullet holes in it.

Six of a dozen or so troops were injured in this morning's attack - three of them seriously - in the Levallois-Perret suburb of the city.

The incident is being investigated by counter-terrorism officials.

The attacker had been waiting in the dark-coloured car in an alleyway before he drove at speed at the troops as they left their barracks to go on patrol at around 8.00am local time.

Nadia LeProhon heard the smash and came running out of her building to find two soldiers on the ground and other troops running after a vehicle shouting: "After him! Follow that car!"

French police work on the scene where French soldiers were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret near Paris | Image: Kamil Zihnioglu/AP/Press Association Images

Mayor of Levallois-Perret, Patrick Balkany, condemned the attack as "an odious act of aggression", adding: "Without any doubt, it was a deliberate act."

"It all happened very quickly. The vehicle did not stop. It hurtled at them... it accelerated rapidly," he told broadcaster BFMTV.

Officers and soldiers secured the scene - situated around three miles from city centre landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower - as forensic teams arrived to gather evidence.

Investigators were also scouring through CCTV footage from the suburb, as police stopped motorists in the region as they searched for the attacker.

The Paris prosecutor's office said it was "pursuing perpetrators on charges of the attempted murder of security forces in connection with a terrorist enterprise".

It means authorities believe the attack was intentional and planned with a terror-related motive.

The soldiers, who were taken to a military hospital, were on duty as part of Operation Sentinelle, created to guard prominent French sites after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015.

The French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb has visited the soldiers in hospital.

The attack comes four days after a teenager with a knife forced his way into the Eiffel Tower shouting "Allahu akbar" - the Arabic phrase for "God is great" - and told police he wanted to attack a soldier.

It is the sixth time soldiers involved in the nationwide security crackdown have been targeted. In February, a man with a machete attacked troops near the Louvre Museum.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly described Wednesday's attack as "cowardly", adding that it "does nothing to dent soldiers' determination to
work for the security of the French people".

France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks in the French capital which left 130 people dead.

Mr Philippe said that despite a "high threat" against France, the government is sticking to plans to lift the 21-month state of emergency on November 1st.