Pauline Talagrand et al., Yahoo! News, December 21, 2014
A driver shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) ploughed into pedestrians in eastern France Sunday, injuring 11 of them, just a day after a man yelling the same words was killed in an attack on police officers.
Two of the people injured in the car attack in the city of Dijon were in a serious condition, a police source said, adding that the driver had been arrested.
“The man, born in 1974, is apparently unbalanced and had been in a psychiatric hospital,” a source close to the investigation told AFP, adding that “for now his motives are still unclear”.
The man had targeted groups of passersby at five different locations in the city on Sunday evening in a rampage that lasted around half an hour, the police source said.
“Nine people were lightly injured and two others seriously but their lives do not appear to be in danger,” the source added.
Witnesses told police that the driver shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “that he was acting for the children of Palestine”, a source close to the investigation said.
France is still reeling from a suspected radical Islamic attack on Saturday that saw a French convert to Islam shot dead after attacking police officers with a knife while also reportedly crying “Allahu Akbar” in the central town of Joue-les-Tours.
The assailant, Burundi-born French national, Bertrand Nzohabonayo seriously injured two officers–slashing one in the face–and hurting another.
Nzohabonayo had previously committed petty offences but was not on a domestic intelligence watch-list although his brother is known for his radical views and once pondered going to Syria, the source said.
Authorities in France believe around 1,200 nationals or residents are involved in one way or another in jihadist networks in Iraq and Syria.