A driver armed with weapons and explosives reportedly rammed into a police van in Paris Monday afternoon as bystanders on Champs-Élysées Boulevard stood and watched the terrifying event unfold.
The alleged assailant chased down the leading vehicle of a police squadron in a small white car and, according to CNN, the car contained so many explosives that the car burst into flames shortly after the collision. The police also discovered a Kalashnikov rifle, handguns and gas canisters in the car, according to the BBC.
Police reportedly had to smash the car windows to pull the driver out and take him into custody. He later died at the scene.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb confirmed that the man was known to intelligence services and had been on a security watch list. The attack happened about 200 yards from Élysée Palace where French President Emmanuel Macron resides. Police said they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.
“This shows once again that the threat level in France is extremely high,” Collomb said.
No officers or civilians were injured in the attack. Forensic investigators are still investigating the scene, which is closed to the public.
The latest incident comes in a series of recent attacks in France. Just last month, a man attacked a police officer with a hammer at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, while shouting, “This is for Syria!” In April, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a man who killed one police officer in France and wounded two others before being killed by police. The man, Karim Cheurfi, had a note in his pocket claiming allegiance to the Islamic State.