• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
French soldiers shoot car attacker at mosque
French police stand next to a car in front of the mosque of Valence, southeastern France. Photo: Patrik Jardin/AFP

French soldiers shoot car attacker at mosque

AFP · 2 Jan 2016, 08:29

Published: 02 Jan 2016 08:29 GMT+01:00

Police said the driver deliberately sped his vehicle at the troops, injuring one of them, as they were stationed in a car park outside a large mosque in a suburb of Valence.

The driver bore down on the team a first time, prompting them to shout a warning, and when he returned for a second pass, they opened fire, they said.

The impact of the car, a Peugeot 307 station wagon, left the soldier with injuries to his knee and shin, police said.

The driver was shot in the arm and the leg and was taken to hospital, the prefecture of the Drome department (county) said.

The defence and interior ministries in Paris said in a joint statement the driver's injuries were "serious but currently not life-threatening."

A stray bullet also hit a passerby, a worshipper at the mosque, in the calf.

Police said the driver's motive remained unclear.

Local mayor Nicolas Daragon praised the soldiers for what he said was "remarkable" self-control, and Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian were swift to add their backing.

"My support for the soldiers attacked in Valence. Fully appreciate our forces, mobilised for the security of France," Valls said in a tweet.

Le Drian and Cazeneuve's statement said the soldiers "responded with defensive fire" against the assailant.

The incident occurred in mid-afternoon, between two prayer sessions, when there was a large crowd outside, the rector of the mosque, Abadallah Dliouah, said.

The prefecture said the mosque was usually very calm, "and worship there takes place peacefully."

The soldier is among 10,000 security personnel protecting sensitive sites around the nation after the deadly jihadist assaults in Paris in 2015.

Story continues below…

Attacks in Paris on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket killed 17 people in January 2015, with a series of coordinated shootings and bombings in the city in November leaving 130 people dead and 350 wounded.

The traditional New Year's Eve fireworks display in Paris was cancelled over fears of a terrorist attack.

Instead, the large crowds on the Champs-Elysees avenue were treated to a giant video projection on the Arc de Triomphe featuring the French flag, people smiling and images of famous Parisian landmarks, intended as a show of national unity and solidarity.

 

Today's headlines
British expats take steps to secure their futures in France
Photo: Oli Bac/Flickr

Brits in France are not waiting around for their politicians to ease their worries, they are taking matters into their own hands to secure their future in the country, which is clouded in uncertainty.

How gay friendly is gay Paris?
The 2014 Gay Pride parade in Paris. Photo: AFP

The French capital is sometimes called "gay Paris", and to mark Saturday's Gay Pride March, we take a look at just how gay friendly the city is.

French drivers 'getting faster and paying less attention'
All photos: AFP

French motorists' bad habits are getting worse, a new study has found.

Common wine blunders you should really avoid in France
Photo: AFP

Don't be a plonk-er. Learn to negotiate the "winefield" in France.

Ten things you didn't know about gay Paris
Do you know where to find penis-shaped bakery goods in Paris? Photo: Legay Choc/Facebook

IN PICTURES
Britain and France mark 100 years since Battle of Somme
All photos: AFP

It was Britain's bloodiest day of battle ever.

What you need to know about France's ban on plastic bags
Photos: AFP

Plastic bags are banned in France as of today, July 1st, although it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

What does the Paris ban on old cars actually mean?
The ever-busy Rue La Fayette in Paris. All photos: AFP

The ban on old cars, trucks, and motorbikes begins today. Got questions? We've got answers.

The small changes to life in France from July 2016
Fancy some Sunday shopping in Paris? Photo: AFP

It's a new month - and that means changes in France at the shops, at home, and online (plus more). Here's how you'll be affected.

French tourism industry set to suffer over falling pound
Photo: AFP

Britons visit France each year in their millions, but for many it may become unaffordable.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Gay Pride: Here are ten things you didn't know about 'gay Paris'
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris Pride parade cut in half and the gay community is angry
Culture
What's on in France: Eleven great things to do in July
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Paris to honour Ireland's two sets of 'wonderful' fans
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Politics
When France 'ignored' the result of an EU referendum
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Society
No more plastic bags! See what changes in France from July 2016
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
2,759
jobs available