Man rams his car into soldiers protecting mosque in France

French mayor says one soldier and another passer-by have been injured when man rammed his car into soldiers protecting mosque in southern city of Valence

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

French police and criminal investigators stand next to a car in front of the mosque of Valence, southeastern France, on January 1, 2016, after a soldier guarding the mosque shot and wounded a driver who rammed him with the car

An unidentified man rammed his car into French troops protecting a mosque in southern France city of Valence on Friday evening, slightly injuring a soldier and a passer-by, said the city mayor.

The city mayor Nicolas Daragon said the driver was also injured after the soldiers shot at him on his second attempt of ramming the car into them.

His identity, motives and psychiatric state are not known yet, said Daragon.

"The four soldiers were in front of the mosque, a moderate, quiet mosque, in between two prayers, at a time when many worshippers arrived, and a car drove into them" he said.

A 72-year-old worshipper was injured in the calf by a stray bullet shot by the soldiers, Daragon told the iTELE news channel. The soldier had slight injuries to his legs too. 

A media source close to the investigation said the 29-year-old driver is not known to local intelligence services. He is from a suburb of Lyon, almost an-hour drive from Valence and his wife also arrived to see him at the hospital, according to the source. 

France has declared a state of emergency protecting sensitive places across the country since DAESH terrorist organisation has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks that hit six different sites in Paris on November 13, killing 130 people and injuring more than 300 others. 

TRTWorld and agencies