Paris car attack suspect arrested
France24 reports that French police have searched the apartment of a man accused of “deliberately” ramming his car into a group of soldiers.
Six soldiers were injured in the incident, which took place in Levallois-Perret, a wealthy Parisian suburb. The suspect was apprehended approximately 160 miles north of Paris. One policeman was injured during the arrest.
Details about the suspect’s identity have not been confirmed. Unofficial reports have varied. One report claimed he was an illegal immigrant from North Africa, while another said he was an Algerian with French residency. Le Parisien identified him as “Hamou B.”
The mayor of Levallois-Perret, Patrick Balkany, condemned the attack as “disgusting” and said he believed it was premeditated.
Levallois-Perret is the home of France’s domestic counter-terrorism agency.
Gerard Collomb, the Interior Minister, said that the suspect targeted soldiers with a BMW. Tess Despres Pereira saw the incident from her window and said, “When I saw the soldiers on alert I realized something serious was happening."
The soldiers who were attacked are part of Operation Sentinel, which was launched in response to attacks in 2015. Approximately 7,000 soldiers are part of the operation. Wednesday's attack was the 15th on French soldiers and police since 2015. Most of those attacks have been inspired by the Islamic State.
Islamist attackers have killed over 200 people in France since January 2015. While Operation Sentinel has not been able to stop large attacks like the November 2015 attack in Paris, Sentinel forces have been successful against “lone wolf” attackers.
This past weekend, Sentinel forces arrested a teenager who was brandishing a knife at the Eiffel Tower. Soldiers have also defused incidents at the Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Paris’s Orly Airport.
According to Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, these attacks demonstrate that the soldiers of Operation Sentinel are “more necessary than ever.”
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