World

French soldiers attacked, man arrested

All six anti-terrorism personnel in hospital, but none have life-threatening injuries

PARIS A man believed to have rammed his car into a group of anti-terrorism soldiers outside their base in a Paris suburb has been shot and arrested.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed the arrest during yesterday's parliament question time.

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

A Reuters journalist saw the BMW riddled with bullet holes on the A16 highway in northern France.

The arrest came just hours after French security forces launched a manhunt to find the suspect who rammed into the soldiers outside their barracks in a Paris suburb as they were about to set off for patrols.

The driver appeared to have lain in wait for the soldiers in a pedestrian zone near their base in Levallois-Perret.

The car accelerated into the soldiers when they were just a few metres away, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters outside the hospital where the three more seriously injured victims were being treated.

The BMW sped off after the incident, described by local mayor Patrick Balkany as "without doubt a deliberate act".

The latest attack was the 15th on soldiers and police since they were deployed in large numbers nationwide after a series of Islamist militant attacks over the past 2 1/2 years.

France, which has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks in Paris, has seen a string of assaults on security forces, including those guarding key tourist sites.

Defence Minister Florence Parly condemned the attack as a "cowardly act", saying it did "nothing to dent soldiers' determination to work for the security of the French people".

All six injured were hospitalised, but none have life-threatening injuries, Mr Balkany said.

The 7,000-strong anti-terrorism Sentinelle force was set up after the November 2015 bombings and shootings that killed 130 people in the French capital and were claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

ISIS has repeatedly said France is a target because of its participation in the US-led coalition fighting the jihadist group, with French jets carrying out air strikes against the extremist group in Syria.

The wave of attacks has had a serious impact on tourism in the world's top tourist destination, but the industry is recovering as incidents become more widespread and less deadly.

- REUTERS/AFP

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