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One killed in car-ramming at Marseille bus stop, French police

One person was killed and another seriously injured in the southern French city of Marseille on Monday after a van ploughed into people at two bus stops, police sources said, adding that the suspected driver had been arrested.

One killed in car-ramming at Marseille bus stop, French police
French forensic police search the site following a car crash. AFP
Marseille's prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said that investigators had “no element pointing to a terrorist attack” and that the driver was suffering from psychiatric problems.
 
“He was found with a letter from a psychiatric clinic and we are leaning towards treating it as a mental health case,” Tarabeux told AFP.

 
 
The incident took place at around 9am, one source said, asking not to be named.
   
The Renault vehicle first drove at speed towards a bus stop in the city's 13th district, leaving one person seriously hurt, before targeting another stop in the 11th district, causing one fatality.
 
A body of a victim is evacuated to a waiting ambulance. AFP
 
Julien Ravier, mayor of the 11th and 12th districts, told BFMTV news channel that the victim was a woman in her 40s who was waiting alone at the stop.
   
The police source said the man was in his mid-30s and was not from Marseille. Another source said the vehicle was a van.
BFMTV reported that a bystander noted the registration number of the car, which the police used to trace the vehicle to the city's Old Port district, where the suspect was arrested.
   
Police sealed off the port area and urged residents in a tweet to avoid the neighbourhood which is popular with tourists.
 
The incident comes as police across Europe search for the driver of a van that mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona last week, killing 13. 
 
France has also seen a series of terror attacks over the past two years, including several in which vehicles were used as weapons.
 
French forensic police officers search a vehicle. AFP
 
On July 14th 2016, an extremist drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 86. The driver was shot dead by police, and Isis claimed responsibility.
 
Further car attacks have targeted police and security forces. In June, an armed man crashed a car into a police van on the iconic Champs Elysees in what was described as an “attempted terror attack”, and on August 9th, a man drove a car into a group of anti-terror soldiers in a western Paris suburb, injuring six.
 
Less than a week later, a 13-year-old girl was killed when a man deliberately drove a car into a pizzeria in a town east of Paris, badly injuring four other people. In that case, however, police were quick to rule out a link to terrorism, instead suggesting the attack was a suicide attempt. It later emerged the driver had consumed “large quantities of medication” before driving into the restaurant.
 
Terrorism experts have warned that the intense media coverage of the violence could spur copycat attacks by people with mental health problems and a propensity for violence.

 

PARIS

Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

Paris police on Tuesday fished a man out of the Seine river, which he jumped into after he rammed a car into a Valentino store and robbed dozens of luxury handbags.

Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

The 24-year-old suspect smashed into the store around 2am on the high-end Rue Saint-Honoré, a police source said.

He grabbed as many as 30 luxury handbags and other items before attempting to flee in the car.

The man then failed to stop when a police patrol gave chase after spotting him near the central Paris Opéra.

He abandoned the car on Place de la Concorde at the end of the Champs-Elysées, the police source said, before plunging into the nearby river Seine.

But river police quickly fished him out and placed him under arrest.

A source familiar with the case said that the “entirety” of the stolen items had been found.

A second source told AFP that “around 30” handbags – which Valentino lists on its website at between €1,000 and €3,000 – were found in his car.

The suspect now faces an investigation for charges including aggravated robbery and refusal to comply with police, Paris prosecutors said.

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