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POLICE

Two dead after Paris police open fire on car

Police in Paris on Sunday fired on a car that refused to stop while driving the wrong way along the Pont-Neuf in the city centre, killing two people and injuring a third.

Two dead after Paris police open fire on car
Illustration photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP

The vehicle was driving against traffic and sped towards to the officers, who were forced to open fire, according to police sources.

The incident happened on the Pont-Neuf in the heart of the city, and early reports say that police attempted to stop a vehicle that was driving the wrong way.

A large police presence descended upon the scene in the heart of the capital, where white sheets covered the bodies and a Volkswagen sedan could be seen bisecting traffic lanes, according to AFP journalists and photographs.

Less than two kilometres away, French President Emmanuel Macron was celebrating his victory over far-right rival Marine Le Pen with a crowd of supporters on the Champ de Mars park.

No link has been established between the bridge incident and the election night events.

An Egyptian tourist, who gave his name as El Sammak, said he was near the incident on the terrace of the White Horse Hotel overlooking the Seine when he heard the shooting.

“I heard four bullets (being fired),” he told AFP. “When I looked, I saw a man running 10 or 15 metres. Then he collapsed. Apparently, he was not the driver but a passenger.”

An investigation has been launched for “attempted voluntary manslaughter on persons in charge of public authority”.

The Paris public prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, arrived around 1.30am.

France’s police oversight body, the General Inspectorate of the National Police, is also expected to be deployed, as is typical following an officer’s use of a firearm.

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POLICE

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window ‘may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack’

An 89-year-old man who was pushed out of his 17th-storey window by a neighbour may have been killed because he was Jewish, a prosecutor said on Friday, after several shocking anti-Semitic murders in France in recent years.

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window 'may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack'

The victim’s body was found at the foot of his building in Lyon, southeast France, on May 17th and the 51-year-old neighbour was arrested. But investigators did not initially charge him with a racist crime.

Last Sunday, the BNVCA anti-Semitism watchdog group said it would seek to be a plaintiff in the case, citing its similarity with the 2017 murder of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old thrown from her window in a case that sparked national outcry.

“After social media postings were provided to us, the prosector’s office has asked judges to consider the aggravating circumstance of an act committed because of the victim’s ethnicity, nationality, race or religion,” Lyon prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told AFP.

He did not provide examples of the posts, but Gilles-William Goldnadel, a lawyer and commentator for CNews television, said on Wednesday on Twitter that the suspect had called out Goldnabel in messages, including one that told him to “remember your origins.”

“It’s no longer a question of telling us it’s the act of a mentally disturbed person. The truth of anti-Semitism must no longer be hidden,” Goldnadel wrote.

France has grappled with a sharp rise in violence targeting its roughly 500,000 Jews, the largest community in Europe, in addition to jihadist attacks in recent years.

The murder of Halimi drew particular outrage after the killer, who had shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic), avoided trial because a judge determined he was under the influence of drugs and not criminally responsible.

That prompted President Emmanuel Macron to seek a law change to ensure people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs, which was adopted in December 2021.

In 2018, 85-year-old Mireille Knoll was brutally stabbed in an attack by two men said to have been looking for “hidden treasures” in her Paris apartment.

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