A fiery blast ensued in Paris when a car carrying explosives rammed a police vehicle that was part of a convoy in the French capital's Champs-Elysees shopping district. The anti-terrorism prosecutor of the French Republic has opened an investigation. Officials assert that the incident was deliberate. No police officers or bystanders were injured, according to police.
The terrorist threat remains quite high. Collomb intends to introduce legislation this week at a Cabinet meeting to extend the state of emergency from July 15 to November 1. He said on Monday that France needs a new security law "is needed" and the extension will "maintain a high security level." Collomb said, “Once again, French security forces were targeted with this attempted attack on the Champs-Elysees,” adding that “a number of weapons, explosives to blow up this car” were discovered at the scene.
Police found a pistol in the possession of the driver, who was severely burned during the explosion. The driver has been identified as a 31-year-old man from Argenteuil, a Paris suburb, who had been known for links to extremism. This is the second such incident this year along the famous Champs-Elysees Avenue, which is frequented by tourists. In April, a terrorist connected to the Islamic State shot and killed a police officer on that street, just days before a presidential election. Additional security ensued, as well as nationwide security operations.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the incident was apparently deliberate. He said that police "pulled an individual out of the vehicle who had struck the car in front (of the convoy, “ Brandet said in a press conference. "Large numbers of police converged on the scene, firefighters to extinguish the fire."
Hours after the incident, the avenue remains closed while bomb squads continue security operations. A reporter for th leftist Liberation newspaper, Eric Favereau, saw a car blocking the convoy. Once the vehicle exploded, police smashed the windows of the burning car and dragged out the driver. Other gendarmes on the scene doused the fire.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.