French Soldiers Hospitalized After Hit and Run Outside Paris

Paris soldiers

French police are searching for a driver who slammed his BMW into a group of soldiers in a Paris suburb Wednesday, injuring six of them in an apparent ambush before speeding away, officials said. One policeman was injured by a stray bullet in the operation.

Armed police from elite units tracked the man for five hours after the attack before cornering him on a motorway in northern France and shooting him several times. The broadcaster reported that he was arrested between Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais.

Most were released. But in one case, police stopped a vehicle on the A16 highway and arrested the driver and were verifying his possible links to the attack, according to two police officials.

The vehicle 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.

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

French officials say police have opened fire on a man before he was arrested north of Paris, on suspicion of driving his vehicle into six soldiers. The driver's motive is unclear, but officials say he deliberately aimed at the soldiers, and counterterrorism authorities have opened an investigation.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb described the ramming of the soldiers as "deliberate" and carried out by a "man on his own". "We do not believe this could be an accident".

Patrick Balkany

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 is the most densely populated town in Europe and is home to France's main intelligence agency and is staging point" for soldiers who have been assigned to protect prominent sites after recent attacks.

One eyewitness, who gave her name as Zakia, told BFMTV that she was awakened by a "boom" before running to her balcony. The soldiers were leaving an army barracks, authorities said.

He explained: "I am glad to see that France is not as it were trying to exclude people by pointing them out or behind walls or barriers".

"I heard a huge crash, which I thought was the sound of scaffolding being put up", said Mr Thierry Chappe, a resident in a building opposite the crime scene.

Macron discussed the attack at a security meeting Wednesday and at a weekly Cabinet meeting.

The incidents have taken place at high-profile tourist destinations such as the Louvre, the Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Paris' Orly airport.

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