An armed driver who drove a auto into a police van on Paris’s Champs-Elysees avenue “in an attempted attack” is dead, France’s interior minister Gerard Collomb said.
Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said police had pulled the driver out of the flaming vehicle.
Police say the situation is now under control, and neither law enforcement officers nor civilians were injured.
According to CNN affiliate BFMTV, the driver was under what is known as a “Fiche S” file, a French terror/radicalization watch list composed of thousands of names, of which some are under active surveillance.
The incident comes just two months after a policeman was shot and killed on the world-renowned avenue, three days before the first round of France’s presidential election.
Witnesses say he shouted “this is for Syria”. The driver’s vehicle caught fire after he hit the police van, and he was later confirmed dead.
“At this stage in the investigation, it is believed that the suspect acted alone but we are of course investigating all the circumstances leading up to the attack”, the force said in a statement. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an anti-terror investigation into the incident, Brandet said.
The tweet Monday confirmed an attack had taken place on Paris’ famed Champs-Elysees.
Two French police officials say the man who rammed into a police convoy on Paris’ Champs-Elysees was a 31-year-old man from a Paris suburb who had been flagged for extremism.
The police and the army have consistently been attacked by extremists in France.
Police swarmed the Champs-Élysées in Paris, after a vehicle rammed into a police truck and burst into flames in the popular tourist spot.
A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts.
Police searched on Monday night the residence the suspect shared with his family in Plessis-Pate, a town about 40 minutes’ drive from central Paris.
The reason for the operation remains unclear.
No one else was injured, and the Champs-Elysees reopened overnight after being closed for hours for security measures.