French police arrest man over soldier auto attack: security sources


French police used gunfire to "neutralize" a man who is believed to have used a vehicle to ram into a group of soldiers on patrol in a Paris suburb early Wednesday - an attack that injured six people.

An urgent police operation is now under way to find the vehicle - reportedly a BMW - and driver involved in the incident in the north-western suburb of Levallois-Perret.

The vehicle is being reported as dark coloured, and was driving down a one-way street in the wrong direction before it hit the soldiers.

The Paris Police Authority said a police operation is under way in the area and they are searching for the auto.

Parly said three of the soldiers were "more seriously injured".

They were from the 35th infantry regiment and served in Operation Sentinelle, created to guard prominent French sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks in 2015.

The area, quieter than normal in peak summer holiday season, was cordoned off after the incident, which happened at around 8.00 am local time, police said.

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The incident is the latest of several attacks targeting security forces in France. "It all happened very quickly".

According to the New York Post, three of the soldiers targeted, in what Mayor Patrick Balkany called a "deliberate" attack, suffered minor injuries and three suffered more serious injuries, but it seems all six will survive their wounds. 'It's an odious act of aggression, ' Balkany also said. "It hurtled at them ... it accelerated rapidly".

Nadia LeProhon, a witness, told The Associated Press she heard a loud crash outside her building and rushed outside to see two soldiers on the ground.

French police shot and arrested the suspect in the morning's attack on a group of soldiers after a dramatic chase on the A16 motorway, north of Paris.

France has been in a state of emergency introduced after a terror attack in Paris killed 130 people in November 2015.

French government spokesman Christophe Castaner said the Paris prosecutor's office has opened a counterterrorism investigation. She condemned the attack calling it "a cowardly act".

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.