Police arrest suspect in car attack that wounded six French soldiers

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Police work near the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret

Police work near the scene where French soliders were hit and injured by a vehicle in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, France, on Aug. 9, 2017. Photo by Benoit Tessier/Reuters

French police have arrested a suspect in a car attack that wounded six French soldiers on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Soldiers were exiting a building for a shift change around 8 a.m. local time at Place de Verdun in Levallois-Perret, an affluent area in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, when a BMW slammed into them.

French officials said they conducting a counterterrorism investigation into the incident.

“Without a doubt this is a terrorist attack,” Patrick Balkany, mayor of Levallois-Perret and a member of France’s National Assembly, told NBC News. “He was not parked in an angle and he deliberately drove out to hit the soldiers.”

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo expressed support for the troops on Twitter, writing, “I hope with all my heart that their attacker will be quickly arrested.”

The soldiers are a part of Opération Sentinelle, an effort to increase security in French cities that began after the deadly attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. After coordinated attacks across Paris killed more than 130 people that November, then-President François Hollande increased the number of troops in the operation. France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks.

The soldiers, which belong to the the 35th infantry regiment, were hospitalized at the Bégin military hospital in Saint-Mandé, in Paris’ eastern suburbs. Defense Minister Florence Parly and Interior Minister Gerard Collomb visited them on Wednesday.

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