Police are searching for a driver who rammed his vehicle into a group of French soldiers patrolling a Paris suburb on Wednesday morning in an apparently deliberate attack.
The driver injured six military personnel on duty in Levallois, two seriously, before making a quick getaway. French authorities said the attack was clearly intentional but stopped short of identifying a terror motive, though Levallois mayor Patrick Balkany called it an “odious aggression against our military.”
He described how the vehicle, a dark-colored BMW, had apparently been waiting for the soldiers to emerge from a nearby barrack before “accelerat[ing] very quickly” the wrong way down a one-way street and slamming into the security forces. He then drove off.
The area has been sealed as the search for the suspect continues.
The soldiers were part of Opération Sentinelle, a massive anti-terror military effort launched in the aftermath of the horrific 2015 shooting terror attack at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. Since then, France has remained in a state of emergency as Islamic-inspired terror attacks continue to plague the country, leaving a total of 230 people dead in the past two years.
Opération Sentinelle deploys 10,000 soldiers and 4,700 police and gendarmes to patrol sensitive areas throughout the country. Its forces have tangled multiple times with Islamic extremists. In February, a man armed with a machete attacked four soldiers at the Louvre Museum. In April, a French police officer was killed in a shooting for which ISIS claimed responsibility, and in June, one ISIS supporter rammed a gun- and gas-filled car into a police van, killing himself in the process, and another attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame. All four incidents took place in Paris.