Man drives into crowd screaming 'Allahu akbar!' Authorities say motive is 'unclear'
Two different attacks by jihadists in France have the French people on edge. One man was killed when he attacked police in Joue-les-Tours, while another man drove his car into pedestrians several times in Dijon. What connects the two attacks is what both men shouted prior to the incidents: ""Allahu Akbar!"
A driver shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") ploughed into pedestrians in eastern France Sunday, injuring 11 of them, just a day after a man yelling the same words was killed in an attack on police officers.
Two of the people injured in the car attack in the city of Dijon were in a serious condition, a police source said, adding that the driver had been arrested.
"The man, born in 1974, is apparently unbalanced and had been in a psychiatric hospital," a source close to the investigation told AFP, adding that "for now his motives are still unclear".
The man had targeted groups of passersby at five different locations in the city on Sunday evening in a rampage that lasted around half an hour, the police source said.
"Nine people were lightly injured and two others seriously but their lives do not appear to be in danger," the source added.
Witnesses told police that the driver shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "that he was acting for the children of Palestine", a source close to the investigation said.
His motives were "unclear"? Really? You have to practice in front of a mirror to be that obtuse.
Meanwhile, another man charged into a police station, shouting the same phrase and injuring two officers before being gunned down.
In Saturday's attack, Bertrand Nzohabonayo, a French convert to Islam who was born in Burundi, was shot dead after entering a police station in Joue-les-Tours armed with a knife, seriously wounding two officers -- slashing one in the face -- and hurting another.
The assault prompted the government to step up security at police and fire stations nationwide.
Nzohabonayo had previously committed petty offences but was not on a domestic intelligence watch-list although his brother Brice is known for his radical views and once pondered going to Syria.
Brice was arrested in Burundi soon after the Saturday incident, intelligence services there said Monday.
"He has been detained in our premises and he is being questioned," intelligence spokesman Telesphore Bigirimana told AFP.
The anti-terror branch of the Paris prosecutor's office quickly took over a probe into the attack amid heightened vigilance over potential "lone wolf" attacks by individuals heeding calls for violence by the Islamic State jihadist group.
The radical group has repeatedly singled out France for such attacks, most recently in a video posted on jihadist sites.
Bertrand Nzohabonayo, who had taken the name Bilal when he converted to Islam, had posted a flag of the Islamic State group on his Facebook page Thursday, although people who knew him said at the weekend they refused to believe the attack was spurred by radical Islamism.
Recent car attacks in Jerusalem may have inspired the attacker in Dijon, although Islamic State propaganda has also suggested using a car as a terrorist weapon. French authorities don't believe the attacks are connected - a fair assumption but one they shouldn't dismiss entirely.
The authorities may have trouble figuring out a motive for these attacks, but most of the rest of us have no problem identifying the reason why people who scream "God is great!" while trying to kill westerners are doing what they do.