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Man drives 4x4 at mosque near Paris

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Police outside the Créteil mosque after the attempted attack Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

A man was arrested after he drove his vehicle into barriers protecting a mosque in the Paris suburbs on Thursday, police said. In a statement, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, described the incident as a "criminal attack" and an "Islamophobic act".


Police said the four-wheel drive vehicle struck pillars and barriers protecting the mosque of Créteil, south-east of the capital, before speeding off and crashing into a traffic island. No-one was injured.

The driver, who sources say is a 43-year-old Armenian who owned the vehicle, fled the scene.

But he was arrested "without incident" at his home shortly afterwards, police said.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said in a statement that the man's "exact motives" will be determined by an investigation.

A search was conducted Thursday night at the driver's home, according to sources close to the investigation who also said the suspect had made confused remarks in relation to jihadist attacks that have struck France, killing 239 people since 2015.

Psychiatric tests

According to judicial authorities, he was not under the influence of alcohol and will undergo psychiatric tests.

Paris police prefect Michel Delpuech said he was "doing everything possible... to clarify the motives of the driver and determine if he is criminally responsible".

The head of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, Abdallah Zekri called for "more vigilance on the part of mosque officials" and asked authorities to "strengthen protection of places of worship".

"What has just happened in Créteil seems to justify the fears I expressed after the attack close to Finsbury Park mosque in London," Zekri told the AFP news agency, referring to the 19 June mowing down of worshippers leaving the north London place of worship.