PARIS — An armed man who deliberately rammed his car into a police van in Paris on Monday afternoon has been taken down by officers and is dead, French authorities said.
The incident took place on the iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard in central Paris, the latest attack this year against security forces in the French capital.
Gerard Collomb, France’s interior minister, addressed reporters Monday afternoon, saying that the Champs-Elysees attacker’s car contained weapons and explosives.
“Enough to allow him to blow up this car,” Collomb said.
The small white car caught on fire after the collision with the mobile police unit.
The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an anti-terror investigation into the incident, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
“This shows once again that the threat level in France is extremely high,” Collomb said.
Earlier, police advised people to avoid the area, as about 20 police vans and several armed officers surrounded the man on the ground. The incident took place at 3:40 p.m. local time (9:40 a.m. ET).
It’s the fifth time in four months that security forces have been attacked in the nation’s capital:
— Last month, a man attacked an officer with a hammer at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, proclaiming, “This is for Syria,” Collomb said. The officer’s injuries were not serious.
— In April, a man shot at police officers — also on the Champs-Elysees — killing one officer and wounding two others. Police shot and killed Karim Cheurfi as he tried to escape on the busy tourist boulevard. ISIS said the man was one of its fighters, and Cheurfi had a note defending ISIS in his pocket.
— In March, a man holding a gun on a French female soldier at Orly Airport shouted, “I am here to die in the name of Allah … There will be deaths,” before two of the soldier’s comrades shot the attacker dead.
— In February, a soldier shot a machete-wielding man who rushed toward a group of soldiers and guards near the Louvre museum.