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Breaking: Paris kamikaze terror attack foiled

A car deliberately drove into a police van on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in central Paris, police officials say. It burst into flames after hitting the police vehicle.

Published: June 19, 2017, 9:17 pm

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    Police evacuated the busy avenue where thousands of tourists were sight-seeing as the car had been laden with explosives. They warned people not to approach the area.

    The white car was abandoned in the middle of the empty avenue with one door open and sniffer dogs were sent in, the BBC reported. Two of the metro stations on the Champs-Élysées were closed down.

    Pierre-Henry Brandet a spokesman for Interior Ministry said the driver, who was pulled from his car by police, appeared to have died, but it could not be confirmed officially.

    “Security forces have been targeted in France once again,” Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said, calling it an “attempted attack” after police found a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas bottles in the car. According to the Interior Minister the incident was an “attempted terror attack”.

    There were no other casualties reported. A police operation was launched on the avenue after the Renault collided a with a Gendarmerie vehicle. A bomb disposal unit was seen checking the vehicle. The attack happened close to the Elysee Palace, where Macron was due to receive King Abdallah of Jordan.

    A police source told BFM TV the incident resembled a “kamikaze attack”. A journalist from the French daily Libération saw a car blocking the path of police vans, followed by an explosion.

    Monday’s foiled terror attack occurred a day after the end of France’s parliamentary elections, which saw President Emmanuel Macron’s party win a majority, due to a soaring abstention rate of some 20 percent since 2012 to reach an historic high of 58 percent overall.

    The most heavily-immigrant and Muslim area –Seine-Saint-Denis adjacent to Paris, had the highest abstention of the 102 departments.

    Macron plans to normalise the state of emergency with a formal bill this Wednesday, suggesting that the government sees no end to the spate of terror attacks. The country has been under a state of emergency since 2015.

    France’s anti-terror prosecutor has opened an investigation. According to BFM TV sources the driver was a 33-year-old, known to intelligence services as listed on “fiche S”, and thus considered a threat to security.

    A policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in an attack on the Champs-Élysées in April, just days before the first round of the presidential election.

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