Paris attacker dead, French minister says

Police officers walk accross a sealed off area on June 19, 2017 on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, after a car crashed into a police van before bursting into flames. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas Samson (Photo credit should read THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS (AP) —  France’s interior minister says that a driver who rammed a car carrying explosives into a police convoy on the Champs-Elysees avenue has died after the “attempted attack” on security forces.

Gerard Collomb told reporters near the scene Monday that the man’s motives weren’t immediately clear.

Bomb squad officers are the scene on the city’s most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists. It was the second major incident on the avenue this year.

An attacker defending the Islamic State group shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation.

France’s interior minister says the attempted attack on security forces on the Champs-Elysees shows the threat is still very high in the country and justifies the state of emergency.

Gerard Collomb says he will present a bill Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting to extend the state of emergency from July 15, its current expiration date, until Nov. 1.

He says the current situation in France shows a new security law “is needed” and the measure would “maintain a high security level” beyond the end of the state of emergency.

France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris.

Visitors to an art exhibit of Auguste Rodin’s works in central Paris were confined inside the Grand Palais for an hour after an attacker rammed into a police convoy on the nearby Champs-Elysees.

Victoria Boucher and daughter Chrystel said they’re hoping the Champs-Elysees reopens soon. They came in from the suburb of Cergy-Pontoise for a Paris visit and weren’t afraid to go to the famed avenue.

Chrystel said that “we were better off inside than outside.” But both agreed as the mother said, “unfortunately we now are used to this.”

“The show must go on,” the daughter said in English. “They won’t win.”

 

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