Car rams police van on Paris' Champs Elysees, driver dead

Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:54pm EDT
 
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By Johnny Cotton and Michel Rose

PARIS (Reuters) - A man deliberately rammed a car carrying weapons and explosives into a police van as it drove in a convoy down Paris's Champs Elysees avenue on Monday, officials said.

The man, who was known to French security services, died in the incident and the Paris prosecutor's counter-terrorism unit said it had opened an investigation.

It was unclear how the man, who was not named, had died. Nobody else was hurt.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the car had been carrying weapons and explosives. "This once again shows that the threat level in France is extremely high," Collomb told journalists near the scene.

France has been on high security alert following a series of militant Islamist attacks, including the shooting of a policeman in an Islamic State-claimed attack on a police bus on the Champs Elysees, one of the world's most famous thoroughfares, in April. [nL8N1HS6BF]

Eighty-six people died in a truck attack on a crowd in Nice last year and similar incidents have occurred in other European cities.

The incident in Paris came hours after a van plowed into Muslim worshippers near a mosque in London, injuring 10 people.

In the Paris incident, eyewitnesses saw the man being pulled from the car as it burned, and footage on the Daily Mail web site later showed an officer stripping clothes from the body.   Continued...

 
French police officers engage with a suspect outside a car at the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France June 19, 2017 in this still image obtained from social media. EUGENIO MORCILLO via REUTERS