Anti-terror investigators probe Paris attack as minister condemns 'cowardly act'

Anti-terror investigators probe Paris attack as minister condemns 'cowardly act'

He added: "The BMW accelerated very quickly the moment they came out". The driver is on the run.

Police arrested a man they suspect was the driver who rammed his auto into a group of soldiers patrolling in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret on Wednesday morning, Agence France-Presse reported. Police have closed off the roads.

An official said police began shooting when the arrest turned violent. Parly said they received "reassuring" news about three soldiers initially believed to be seriously injured.

Mayor of Levallois-Perret Patrick Balkany said a "dark-coloured" BMW parked in a nearby alley had appeared to have been waiting for the soldiers.

Clouds of orange and white smoke can be seen pouring from the vehicle as armed police smash the windows to remove the driver.

The street is normally guarded by posts that are removed when vehicles move in and out, so the driver must have known exactly when to strike, Veillant said.

Six of a dozen or so troops were injured in this morning's attack - three of them seriously - in the Levallois-Perret suburb of the city.

He was shot five times, while an officer was also hit by a bullet before the man was arrested, said a source close to the case.

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It's an odious act of aggression, Balkany told the BFM television. "A auto that was in the neighborhood approached" the group of soldiers, "it was rolling slowly, at about 5 meters from the soldiers, it accelerated to be able to strike them", explained the Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb.

The increasing number of attacks spurred French counterterrorism prosecutors to ramp up investigations and actively pursue perpetrators who are connected to a terrorist enterprise and attempt to murder French security forces.

No police or passers-by were hurt in the Champs-Elysees attack, and it is still unclear why the attacker drove into police, though officials said the incident was apparently deliberate.

Parisian police tweeted that there is a search underway for the vehicle.

The group was reinforced following the November 2015 terror attacks on several restaurants and bars in Paris, as well as the Bataclan concert hall.

The soldiers were engaged in Sentinel Operation (Opération Sentinelle), a French military operation deployed after the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks, with the objective of protecting sensitive "points" of the territory from terrorism.

In June, a 40-year-old Algeria doctorate student who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame cathedral.