PARIS (AP) — French police are searching for a driver who slammed his BMW into a group of soldiers in a Paris suburb Wednesday, injuring six of them in an apparent ambush before speeding away, officials said.
The driver’s motive is unclear, but officials said he deliberately aimed at the soldiers. It is the latest of several attacks targeting security forces guarding France over the past year.
Four of the soldiers suffered light injuries while two were hospitalized in the Percy military hospital south of Paris, police officials said. They were from the 35th infantry regiment and served in Operation Sentinelle, created to guard prominent French sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks in 2015, according to the Interior Ministry.
Witnesses described seeing a BMW with one person inside waiting in a cul-de-sac near a building used for Sentinelle soldiers, according to two police officials. One official said the attacker hit just as a group of soldiers emerged from the building to board vehicles for a new shift.
Authorities are checking video surveillance of the area, near the city hall of Levallois, northwest of Paris, to identify the vehicle and hunt the driver.
The officials were not authorized to be publicly named talking about ongoing operations.
Levallois Mayor Patrick Balkany called it an “odious attack” and said it was “without a doubt deliberate.”
“A BMW pre-positioned itself in the alley (where the barracks is located) and barreled into them,” he said on BFM television. He said the car “accelerated very quickly when they left” the building.
A security perimeter was installed around the scene, and the Paris police chief and regional prosecutor are expected at the site Wednesday morning.
French President Emmanuel Macron is holding a previously scheduled top-level security meeting Wednesday morning.