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Saturday 20 January 2018

Teenage girl dies after driver rams car into French pizzeria

Police officers block the road approaching the scene of the incident. (AP)
Police officers block the road approaching the scene of the incident. (AP)

A man who may have been trying to kill himself has rammed his car into a pizzeria east of Paris, killing a 13-year-old girl and injuring her younger brother and at least 11 others, authorities said.

The driver was immediately arrested. Police said the man's actions in the town of Sept-Sorts were deliberate, but not thought to be terrorism-related.

The 13-year-old girl and her brother were among the restaurant customers eating on the outdoor terrace of Pizzeria Cesena when a man in a BMW accelerated toward them, an official with the national gendarme service said.

The girl died immediately, while the boy's injuries are considered life-threatening, the official said.

At least three others were taken to hospital in a serious condition, and eight more sustained light injuries, said the official.

The incident reignited fears in France after a string of attacks in which a vehicle was used as a weapon.

An Algerian man drove his car into a group of French soldiers last week, and an Islamic extremist truck attack in the French city of Nice left 86 people dead a little more than a year ago.

The man arrested in Monday's attack is thought to have tried to kill himself last week, French Interior Ministry Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television.

Mr Brandet said the man, born in 1985, was not known to intelligence or police. He did not identify him.

Two police officials said the incident is considered over and authorities are not searching for accomplices, but to find out what motivated the driver.

A judicial official said on Monday night that the Paris prosecutor's office, which oversees French terrorism investigations, was not involved in the case because there was no proof of terrorism at this stage.

A security official echoed that there was no evidence of a political or Islamic extremist motive.

The targeted pizzeria is in a shopping area in the town of Sept-Sorts about 40 miles east of Paris near Champagne country.

Police cordoned off a large perimeter of the area.

AP

Press Association

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