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Valls downplays extremist link in France attacks

One of the victims of Monday evening’s attack in the western city of Nantes has died in hospital. At least nine others were injured when a van

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Valls downplays extremist link in France attacks

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One of the victims of Monday evening’s attack in the western city of Nantes has died in hospital. At least nine others were injured when a van ploughed into Christmas shoppers at a crowded market.

Point of view

In an already fragile society, people suffering from psychological illness, unbalanced people, can react.

French ministers held an emergency meeting today to discuss the incident, which follows a similar attack in Dijon on Sunday and an assault on police officers in Joue-les-Tours on Saturday.

“We want to protect and reassure French citizens and tell them that state services are mobilized,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after the meeting. “In an already fragile society, people suffering from psychological illness, unbalanced people, can react.”

Saturday’s incident in Dijon left 11 people injured. Although the driver of the car reportedly shouted religious slogans before targeting the crowd, prosecutors are downplaying any ideological motive, saying the man has received psychiatric care dozens of times.

France is on high-alert after calls by Islamic militants to attack French interests, following the country’s recent air strikes on Islamists in Iraq and Syria.