A man has deliberately driven his car into a police van in the busy heart of Paris in the latest terror attack to hit the French capital.
The assailant, who was known to security services and is believed to a man in his early thirties from the Paris suburbs, was killed in the incident after the Renault Megane he was driving collided with a gendarmerie van on the Champs Elysees.
Police had to break the vehicle’s windows to remove the attacker after the car burst into flames.
A number of weapons, including a Kalashnikoff rifle, hand guns and gas canisters were found in the car.
It is believed that the man was knocked unconcious by the impact of the crash at which point his car burst into flames. While it remains unclear as to whether the crash or a police bullet led to his death, it is known that no members of the public or police officers were harmed.
Spokesperson for the Paris Police Johanna Primevert said: “At about 3:40pm, a squadron of mobile gendarmes was descending the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, a vehicle passed it by the right and struck the leading vehicle of the squadron. The military began an intervention and established a perimeter of security. No soldiers or members of the public were harmed.”
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said: “Once again, security forces in France have been targeted.
“The car contained a number of weapons and explosives that gave it the potential to blow up. The individual has died… This shows once again that the terror threat level in France is high.”
Collomb also said that he would propose an extension to France’s state of national emergency at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
For now, an investigation is under way into how a man known to security forces could have slipped through the net.