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Man caught after Paris car attack: PM

by
August 10, 2017

French security forces are a visible target for terrorists as the nation remains on high alert.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says police have arrested the suspect behind an attack on French soldiers in a Paris suburb.

"A suspect who was driving the car involved in the attack has been arrested on the highway between Paris and Boulogne-sur-Mer," Philippe told politicians during parliament question time following the attack on Wednesday morning.

A Reuters journalist saw the BMW believed to have been used in the attack, riddled with bullet holes, on the A16 highway in northern France.

In an attack that authorities said bore the stamp of terrorism, the driver appeared to have waited for the soldiers in a pedestrian zone near their base in Levallois-Perret.

The affluent suburb on the northwestern edge of Paris is home to France's domestic counter-terrorism agency. Several dozen troops from Operation Sentinel, launched in the wake of Islamist attacks in Paris in early 2015, are based there.

The car accelerated into the troops, who were starting their patrol, when they were a few metres away, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters outside the hospital where the three more seriously injured victims were being treated. Six were hurt in total.

The Levallois-Perret attack was the 15th on soldiers and police since they were deployed in large numbers nationwide after a series of Islamist militant attacks over the past two-and-a-half years.

Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the attack was proof there remained an active threat and that the 7000-strong Sentinel force "was more necessary than ever".

Islamist militants or Islamist-inspired attackers have killed more than 230 people on French soil since January 2015, including one attack on Paris and another on the Riviera city of Nice.

Operation Sentinel has put heavily armed combat troops in public view as they patrol key sites in military fatigues, at an annual cost running into hundreds of millions of euros.

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