Europe

France Dijon: Driver targets city pedestrians

  • 22 December 2014
  • From the section Europe
Police at the site where a driver targeted pedestrians in Dijon
Image caption The driver targeted people at five locations in Dijon

A driver shouting the Islamic phrase "God is great" in Arabic has run down pedestrians in Dijon, France, injuring 11, two seriously, French media say.

He was arrested after targeting pedestrians in five different parts of the city in the space of half an hour.

He is said to be "apparently imbalanced" and to have spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

French police shot dead a man on Saturday after he attacked them with a knife, also shouting "God is great".

The lives of the two people seriously injured in Dijon are not said to be in danger.

Witnesses told police the driver, aged around 40, had also said he was "acting for the children of Palestine", an unnamed source close to the investigation told AFP news agency.

'Solidarity'

A spokesman for the interior ministry told French TV he believed the attacker had been acting alone.

The driver has been known to police for minor incidents dating back 20 years, he added.

The prosecutor in Dijon said the attacker had a long history of mental illness and the incident was not linked to terrorism.

The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, tweeted (in French) to express his "solidarity" with the victims.

Image caption The driver was known to police and had a minor criminal record
Image caption The incident in Dijon comes a day after a man attacked police with a knife in Tours

In Saturday's incident, a man injured three police officers in the city of Tours before being shot dead.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told French TV the man had been "very unstable".

Anti-terrorism investigators have opened an inquiry into the attack.

France has the largest number of Muslims in western Europe - estimated at between five and six million.

There have been a number of "lone wolf" attacks by Islamists in recent years

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