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French police chase man driving car to soldiers



LYON, France (Reuters) – The French police chased a man on Thursday who seemed to be driving his car with a group of soldiers jogging outside their base in the Prealps on Thursday.

It was not clear whether the driver had tried to run down the 10-member group of the 93rd Mountain Artillery Regiment or simply scare them, a spokesman for the local prefecture said.

The incident caused concern in a country after an Islamic State loyalist rioted in southern France last Friday and killed four people in the first militant attack since President Emmanuel Macron lifted the state of emergency.

"We do not know if it was an involuntary act, an act to frighten the soldiers, or a deliberate gesture," the spokesman said.

No one was injured in the incident in Varces-Allieres-et-Risset, a small town south of Grenoble.

The mayor said that the schoolchildren were kept indoors while the driver remained at large, local media reported.

A source close to the investigation said the driver's motivation was unclear, but the incident was taken seriously.

Macron said Wednesday that France had been suspended in a fight against "secret Islamic fundamentalism" when he paid tribute to the gendarme, who took the place of hostage in Trebes on Friday and was killed by the Moroccan-born attacker.

reporting by Emmanuel Jarry in Paris and Catherine Lagrange in Lyon; Letter from Richard Lough; Arrangement by Andrew Roche


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