French soldiers hurt after car ploughs into patrol

Six soldiers were hurt, four of them lightly and two more seriously, a police department official added in response to a query from Reuters.

FILE: Police officers patrol in front of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris following an attempted terror attack. Picture: AFP.

PARIS - A car rammed into a group of soldiers in a Parisian suburb on Wednesday, injuring six before speeding off in what its mayor called a deliberate act.

Levallois-Perret Mayor Patrick Balkany said the car, a BMW, was parked in an alley before it accelerated into the soldiers as they left their barracks to go on patrol duty.

Police said two of the six were seriously injured.

Speaking to broadcaster BFM TV, Balkany said that what he called a "disgusting" act of aggression was "without any doubt" premeditated.

"It all happened very quickly. The vehicle did not stop. It hurtled at them ... it accelerated rapidly." The soldiers were rushed to hospital, he added.

France remains on maximum alert after a string of attacks in which Islamist militants or Islamist-inspired attackers have killed more than 230 people over the past two years.

Police said a search for the driver and the vehicle, which they described as dark-coloured and probably a BMW, was under way.

It was parked on the edge of the Place de Verdun square in the centre of Levallois, which is situated on the western edge of Paris.

The area, quieter than normal in peak summer holiday season, was cordoned off after the incident, which happened at around 8am, police said.

Levallois-Perret is about 5km (3 miles) from city centre landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Elysee Presidential Palace.