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updated: 6/19/2017 10:21 AM

Man rams police vehicle in Paris; attacker likely killed

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  • Police forces secure the area on the Champs Elysées in Paris, Monday. A driver rammed his car into a police vehicle in the Champs-Élysées shopping district Monday, prompting a fiery explosion, and was likely killed in the incident, authorities said. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.

    Police forces secure the area on the Champs Elysées in Paris, Monday. A driver rammed his car into a police vehicle in the Champs-Élysées shopping district Monday, prompting a fiery explosion, and was likely killed in the incident, authorities said. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.

  • A person is seen on the ground as a police officer is seen in the foreground on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the ramming of a police vehicle on Paris' Champs-Élysées avenue. Authorities say a driver has rammed his car into a police vehicle in the Champs-Élysées shopping district. They say he has been arrested after being injured in a subsequent apparent clash with police. The condition of the person on the ground is not known.

    A person is seen on the ground as a police officer is seen in the foreground on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the ramming of a police vehicle on Paris' Champs-Élysées avenue. Authorities say a driver has rammed his car into a police vehicle in the Champs-Élysées shopping district. They say he has been arrested after being injured in a subsequent apparent clash with police. The condition of the person on the ground is not known.

  • Police officers seal off the access to the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday, June 19, 2017. Paris officials say: Suspected attacker 'downed' after driving into police car on Champs-Élysées.

    Police officers seal off the access to the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday, June 19, 2017. Paris officials say: Suspected attacker 'downed' after driving into police car on Champs-Élysées.

  • Police vehicles prevent the access to the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday, June 19, 2017. Paris officials say: Suspected attacker 'downed' after driving into police car on Champs-Élysées.

    Police vehicles prevent the access to the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Monday, June 19, 2017. Paris officials say: Suspected attacker 'downed' after driving into police car on Champs-Élysées.

 
By ELAINE GANLEY and LORI HINNANT
Associated Press

PARIS -- A man rammed his car into a police vehicle in Paris' Champs-Élysées shopping district Monday, prompting a fiery explosion, and was likely killed in the incident, authorities said. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.

No police officers or passers-by were hurt, the Paris police department said. It is unclear why the attacker drove into police, though the Interior Ministry spokesman said the incident was apparently deliberate.

Two police officials told The Associated Press that a handgun was found on the driver, who they said was badly burned after the vehicle exploded. They spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details of the incident, the second this year on the city's most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists.

An attacker defending the Islamic State group shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Élysées in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation. France is under a state of emergency after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.

On Monday, police cordoned off a broad swath of the Champs-Élysées avenue that cuts through central Paris, warning people to avoid the area. Bomb squads are combing the area and the nearest subway station is closed to the public.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said that the man is "most probably" dead.

Eric Favereau, a journalist for Liberation newspaper who was driving a scooter behind the gendarmes, said he saw a car blocking the convoy's path, then an implosion in the vehicle. Favereau wrote that the gendarmes smashed open the windows of the car while it was in flames and dragged out its occupant. Other gendarmes used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. The account didn't say what happened to the occupant of the car afterward.

A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts.

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