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.