Anti-terror probe opened in Paris vehicle attack

Reuters

He also said that there's an open anti-terror investigation into the incident.

Gendarmes jumped out of the vehicle, ran to the auto, smashed its windows and pulled out the driver in an apparent attempt to save him, according to witness accounts.

France's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb confirmed that the terrorist was "now dead" and had been identified thanks to documents found in the Megane.

Authorities advised people to avoid the area. A man rammed his auto into a police vehicle in Paris' Champs-Elysees shopping district Monday, prompting a fiery explosion, and was likely killed in the incident, authorities said. The man had been flagged by investigators earlier for extremism, French police said.

France's interior minister said that the driver has died after the "attempted attack" on security forces. He said he will present a bill Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting to extend the state of emergency from July 15, its current expiration date, until November 1.

Wearing a white shirt and dark shorts, the suspect was seen lying prone on his stomach on the avenue, witnesses said. Police removed the body from a tent set up on the side of the avenue. The attacker, a 31-year-old man from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, was badly burned after his auto exploded when he deliberately crashed it into a police van.

Police sources said that they found a Kalashnikov assault rifle, two handguns, ammunition as well as a gas bottle in the vehicle.

But upon collision, the auto - and not the van - burst into flames, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.

Mr Favereau said he saw a auto blocking the convoy's path and then an implosion in the vehicle.

Other officers used fire extinguishers to put out the flames, Favereau said. The police van caught fire, but it was quickly contained, officials said. "I thought in my mind of an attack".

Witnesses said the suspect's vehicle "exploded" on impact with the van and that the driver, who has not been named, was "armed".

Odihe said he also saw bottles of gas, one of which apparently exploded inside the auto.

Police say the situation is now under control, and a bomb disposal unit is on the scene "to ensure the vehicle poses no further danger", Mr Brandet said.

They spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the incident, the second this year on the city's most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists.

Earlier this month, an attacker went after a police patrol with a hammer in front of Notre Dame Cathedral.

A body lyes down on the Champs Elysees avenue after a man rammed into a police convoy in Paris, Monday, June 19, 2017. "There will be deaths", before two of the soldier's comrades shot the attacker dead.

The incident on Monday was the latest in a string of attacks in London and Paris.

The local mayor Sylvain Tanguy said the family was "very discreet and didn't go out much".

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