A man drove into a crowd of patrons gathered outside a bar in the southern city of Nimes early Friday, slightly wounding two before hitting a security barrier and being arrested, witnesses and local officials said.
The 32-year-old suspect, believed to be a local, sped towards a crowd of about 50 outside the “L'Instant T” bar at around 1:00 am (2300 GMT Thursday), witnesses at the scene told AFP.
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However his white Peugeot ran into barriers set up for the Feria de Nimes, a popular weekend festival featuring bull-fighting which attracts thousands of people each year.
Several witnesses told AFP that the man shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) during the incident a cry which has been uttered by jihadists during previous attacks.
A source close to the investigation said the man was not known to police for suspected radicalisation and reports suggest police do not believe the attack was motivated by terrorism.
The region's public prosecutor Eric Maurel said the suspect tried to flee but was caught and roughed up by the crowd.
He was in a state of “mental confusion” during his arrest and has been hospitalised, Maurel added.
An investigation has been opened into attempted murder.
France has been on high alert following a string of jihadist attacks in recent years, often by people who have become radicalised or claim to have acted in the name of the IS group.
More than 240 people have been killed by Islamist extremists since a massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris in January 2015.
Ever since the Nice attack in July 2016 when a jihadist rammed his truck into crowds celebrating July 14th towns and cities have taken steps to boost security including placing barriers and concrete bollards around areas where crowds gather.
Security has been stepped up at festivals around the country including Nimes