World

Man who rammed into police van was on French watch list

PARIS: A man who rammed a car into a police van in Paris stored a cache of weapons at his home and held a gun permit despite being on a secret service list of people linked to radical Islam, police sources and French officials said yesterday.

A judicial source said investigators were compiling an inventory of the arms and equipment found in the 31-year-old's home.

The man, who died in the attack, was also carrying in his car an assault rifle, two pistols, ammunition and two large gas canisters when he rammed a police convoy on Monday.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the individual first received a permit to possess a gun before he was flagged to intelligence agencies as a potential militant threat.

At the time there was no reason to deny him the permit, Mr Philippe said. He said it was "quite possible" the licence was active at the time the attacker was on a security watch list.

"Nobody can be happy, and certainly not me, that someone who has been flagged to security agencies can continue to benefit from such an authorisation," Mr Philippe told BFM TV.

The man was placed on France's so called 'Fiche S' watch list after he was found to belong to a radical Islamist movement, two police sources said.

On Monday, witnesses saw the man being pulled from the car as thick yellow smoke poured out.

Police arrested four of his close relatives in a raid south of Paris late on Monday, a police source said. They included his father and brother. - REUTERS

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