A note in which the 30-year-old voiced his support for the terrorist organisation was found by police during a raid at his home shortly after his arrest, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation told the newspaper Le Figaro. ISIS, which has ramped up attacks on police and soldiers in recent years, is known to favour vehicle-ramming attacks – a cheap but effective way of sowing chaos and inducing fear.
The perpetrator reportedly targeted the police to avenge events in Palestine, another police source said.
He had reportedly “viewed several videos” depicting the situation in the conflict-torn state.
The driver immediately admitted his act was “deliberate,” police unions said.
He was arrested at the scene and lived nearby in a working-class area close to where urban unrest erupted last week.
While he had had no recent run-ins with police, he was known for minor crimes committed “a long time ago,” the police source added.
The injured police had been stationary and conducting routine checks when they were hit by a black BMW.
Footage published in French media later on Monday showed one police motorbike sandwiched between the crumpled bonnets of a police car and the attacker’s BMW. Debris from the second bike lay scattered on the road.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner hailed the response of the police who gave first aid to their colleagues at the scene.
“My thoughts go out to the two injured policemen who were committed to protecting us,” M Castaner said in a Twitter post.
One of the two victims suffered fractures to both legs and a fractured skull and has been placed in an artificial coma, according to police. The other was also hospitalised.
France remains on high alert after being hit by a string of major jihadist attacks since 2015, with more than 250 people killed and scores more injured.
In October, an information technology assistant at the police headquarters in central Paris went on a stabbing rampage inside the building, killing four people before he was shot dead.
An investigation later revealed Mickael Harpon, 45, had converted to Islam a decade earlier and had shown signs of “latent radicalisation”.
He held a high-level security clearance and worked in a unit dedicated to collecting information on jihadist radicalisation.
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