Saturday, January 2, 2016

Surprise? Driver Who Attempted to "Ram Mosque" in Valence Was North African and Shouted "Allahu Akbar!"

Valence is about halfway between Marseilles and Lyon

UPDATE (12:24 PM CST, 2 January): A number of French news outlets are now reporting that the man was "A French citizen of Tunisian descent" and are confirming that he shouted "Allah Akbar". However, the French police say they not treating it as a terror-related incident.

The original story was that a man attempted to "ram the mosque" in between prayer services but was stopped by soldiers. Most stories then clarified that he appeared to be trying to plow into the soldiers. In the process an "elderly worshipper" and a soldier were injured.

The man, who is now in custody, is apparently "29 years old and originally from the suburbs of Lyon." The authorities aren't saying anything else for the moment.

However, Le Figaro is reporting that one of the imams of the mosque said that the car attacker was a maghrébine (of North African origin). Fdesouche claims that witnesses heard him scream "Allah (or Allahu) Akbar!"

The end of the attack, where the injured driver drives his car into a ditch after being shot by soldiers, was caught on video:

Here is a tidied up Google translated version of the Le Figaro story:
Friday afternoon, four soldiers--part of "Operation Sentinel" opened fire on a car, bearing down on them, while they were on duty in the parking lot of the great mosque of Valence (Drôme) in the Fontbarlettes neighborhood. "At high speed," the vehicle, a red Peugeot 307 station wagon registered in Savoie, deliberately drove into them ", say the police. According to them, there is no doubt that it was an intentional act, since after that the soldiers had "averted" the first attempt, the car "backed up and tried to hit them again. 
It was during this second assault that the soldiers, after firing warning shots fired twice into the car. The driver of the vehicle, "of North African origin," according to one of the imams of the mosque, was seriously wounded in the arm and leg, police have confirmed. He was transported to hospital. The refusal to obey their command to stop was the source of the response, the police explained. A man coming out of the mosque was injured in the calf from a stray bullet, stated police and prefecture of the Drôme. One of the soldiers was also hospitalized. He was hit by the vehicle and injured his knee and tibia, but his prognosis is not serious.

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