France car attacker wanted to become a ‘martyr’

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Man who tried to run down soldiers guarding a French mosque wanted to 'appear like a martyr' but police rule out terrorism link.

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A 29-year-old man who tried to run down soldiers guarding a French mosque said he wanted to kill them and be killed himself “to appear like a martyr,” a prosecutor said on Saturday, reports Inquirer.net.

Investigators also found “jihadist propaganda images” on a computer at the man’s home, and the assailant reportedly said the words “Allah is great” during the attack, prosecutor Alex Perrin said.

The jihadist images that were discovered however “can be accessed by anyone using the Internet,” Perrin told AFP, refusing to give further details.

The official also stressed that the individual seemed confused and said a terror link can be ruled out for now.

The motivation for the attack remains unclear and there is no indication the suspect was a member of any terror organization, Perrin told journalists.

“The terrorism line of investigation has been ruled out for now… nothing points to membership of a network of any kind,” Perrin said.

The incident took place on Friday in a suburb of the southeastern town of Valence.

Witnesses said the driver deliberately accelerated his car, a Peugeot station wagon, as he headed towards four soldiers in a car park outside a large mosque.

The driver bore down on the team a first time, prompting them to shout a warning, and when he returned for a second pass, they opened fire, seriously injuring him in the arm and the leg.

One of the soldiers sustained leg injuries after being hit by the vehicle, and a 72-year-old worshipper was also hurt after being hit in the leg by a stray bullet.

Read more of this AFP report published by Inquirer.net.

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