France: Driver rams soldiers outside French mosque

2nd Jan 2016
France: Driver rams soldiers outside French mosque

PARIS (AA,): A driver was shot and wounded Friday as he drove a car at soldiers guarding a mosque in southeastern France, local authorities said.

Police said the driver deliberately steered towards the four soldiers in a suburb of Valence in the Rhone-Alpes region. One soldier sustained an injured leg when the Peugeot 307 hit him.

France remains on high alert in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people and troops are stationed at high-profile sites such as government offices and religious buildings.

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 driver was shot in the arm and leg as he made a second pass at the soldiers. The motive for the attack is not known.

In a joint statement, the defense and interior ministries said the driver’s injuries were “serious but currently not life-threatening”.

A worshipper at the mosque was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.

 
Author: Hatice Vildan Topaloğlu and Agencies
[Photo: Imam of the Valence Mosque, Abadallah Dliouah. Photograph from Facebook]

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