World

Man who drove car into French troops guarding mosque was not terrorist

Valence: French investigators have found no evidence that a man who drove his car into troops guarding a mosque in southern France on New Year's Day was linked to a terrorist group, a local prosecutor said on Saturday.

"We have no evidence that could indicate an act of terrorism," Valence prosecutor Alex Perrin told reporters, saying the 29-year old Frenchman of Tunisian decent seemed to have acted alone.

French soldiers of the foreign legion patrol along at the Champs Elysees avenue during the New Year parade in Paris.
French soldiers of the foreign legion patrol along at the Champs Elysees avenue during the New Year parade in Paris. Photo: AP

"He reportedly shouted "Allah is great", which suggests some sort of religious element."

"When he was apprehended, he mentioned the fact that he wanted to kill troops because troops killed people," the prosecutor added. "He said he wanted to be killed by troops."

There was also no indication that the man was suffering from mental illness, the prosecutor said.

A soldier and a Muslim man were slightly injured in the incident.

France has been on high alert since Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris on November 13. 

Reuters