Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Paris: 4 family members detained after Champs-Elysees attack

French police officers engage with a suspect outside a vehicle at the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France June 19, 2017.

Members of the public were told to avoid the area after a driver crashed his Renault Megane into a van carrying gendarmes (French military police) at around 15:40.

Investigators reportedly found a stash of weapons at his home. According to reports quoting his father, the attacker, who drove a auto laden with hand guns, gas canisters and a Kalashnikov rifle at police, had been issued a sporting license for firearms and had registered a weapon before being put under surveillance in 2015.

"This vehicle contained a certain number of weapons, and explosives that could have been used to blow up the auto", Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, adding that the incident "shows once again that the threat level in France is extremely high".

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In the Paris incident, eyewitnesses saw the man being pulled from the auto as it burned, and footage on the Daily Mail web site later showed an officer stripping clothes from the body.

No one else was injured, and the Champs-Elysees reopened overnight after being closed for hours for security measures.

"Bomb squads were deployed to the scene and the Paris prosecutor's counter-terrorism unit opened an investigation into what is suspected to be a deliberate act", France24 says.

The driver of the auto has been arrested, French broadcaster BFMTV reported.

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The Champs-Elysees was the site of a fatal police shooting by an extremist earlier this year.

The weapons and explosives found in the vehicle "could potentially blow this auto up", he added.

It is the second attack on police in the street in three months and comes amid a nationwide state of emergency following a string of terror attacks in the country. The government will discuss extending the measure through November 1 at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

The interior minister said the attack shows the threat level remains high and justifies an extension of a state of emergency in place since 2015.

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Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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