Suspect in hit-and-run on French soldiers unknown to spy agencies

By REUTERS
August 10, 2017 14:50

 
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The Algerian national suspected of plowing a hire car into a group of soldiers in a wealthy Paris suburb is believed to be unknown to French intelligence services and had no criminal record, a police source said on Thursday.

Investigators late on Wednesday raided several addresses associated with the 36-year-old suspect, who was cornered by armed police from elite units on a motorway some 260 kilometers (162 miles) north of the capital.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the incident was a "deliberate act" and prosecutors opened a counter-terrorism investigation. The police source said the suspect is called Hamou Benlatreche, confirming local media reports.

Benlatreche was not thought to be on a secret service list of people linked to radical Islam, the police source said.

"When a suspect is on the list, we know immediately," the source said. "But in this case we've not been given any indication that he is." Benlatreche's uncle described his nephew as a faithful Muslim who prayed regularly, and expressed shock at hearing that his relative was linked to the attack.

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