PARIS (Reuters) – A car rammed two police motorcyclists in a Paris suburb on Monday, police unions said, leaving one of the officers in an artificial coma in hospital because of his grave injuries.
The act was deliberate, police unions said. Police sources said the 30-year-old driver was arrested at the scene and lived nearby in a working-class area close to where unrest erupted last week.
Psychiatric tests and searches were being carried out before a decision would be taken on whether to hand the investigation to France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor, a source close to the investigation said.
“Two police motorcyclists in a serious condition after being deliberately hit in Colombes by an individual who also rammed a police car. Thoughts with our colleagues,” the Synergie-Officiers union wrote on social media.
The officers had been stationary and conducting routine checks when they were hit by a black BMW.
Footage published in French media including the website of daily newspaper Le Parisien showed one police motorbike sandwiched between the crumpled bonnets of a police car and the BMW. Debris from a second bike lay strewn on the road.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner hailed the response of officers who gave first aid to their comrades at the scene.
One of the two suffered fractures to both legs and a fractured skull and had been placed in an artificial coma, police sources said. The other was also hospitalised.
“My thoughts go out to the two injured policemen who were committed to protecting us,” Castaner wrote on Twitter.
One source familiar with the investigation said the perpetrator targeted the officers to avenge events in Palestine.
France has suffered major attacks by Islamist militants. Police and soldiers have been targeted on multiple occasions in recent years.
In October, an information technology assistant at the police headquarters in central Paris went on a knife rampage inside the building, killing four people before he was shot dead. He had converted to Islam a decade earlier.
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