One Dead after Van Hits People at Marseille Bus Stops

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One person was killed and another seriously injured in the southern French city of Marseille on Monday after a convicted criminal with psychiatric problems drove a van into people waiting at two bus stops, police said.

The incident comes with Europe on high alert following last week's car ramming attacks in northeastern Spain.

But Marseille's prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said there was no evidence of a terror connection and that the driver -- who had several convictions for offenses including robbery -- was mentally unstable.

"He was found with a letter from a psychiatric clinic and we are leaning towards treating it as a mental health case," Tarabeux told AFP.

The man first drove at speed at a bus stop in the city's northern 13th district at around 9:00 am (0700 GMT), hitting a woman who was rushed to hospital with serious pelvis injuries.

The driver of the stolen van then continued to the eastern 11th district, where he slammed into another bus stop, killing a 42-year-old woman.

The police caught up with him shortly afterwards in the city's Old Port district, where he was arrested.

Several European cities, including London, Berlin and Stockholm, have been targeted in a wave of attacks by Islamist radicals using vehicles as killing machines. Many have been claimed by the Islamic State group.

Terrorism experts have warned that the intense media coverage of the violence could spur copycat attacks by people with mental health problems and a propensity for violence.

Marseille's mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin said the driver of the van, who is in his mid-30s, had been in and out of psychiatric clinics. 

The suspect was undergoing psychiatric tests on Monday. He had yet to be questioned by investigators about his motives.

- Several attacks thwarted -

The bloodiest vehicle attack in Europe took place in July 2016 in the French city of Nice, when a radicalized Tunisian drove a truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people.

France has avoided a major incident in the past year but has suffered a slew of small-scale strikes, mainly targeting the security forces.

On August 9, a 36-year-old Algerian ran down soldiers on anti-terrorism patrol west of Paris, injuring six.

Three days earlier, a knife-wielding 18-year-old on leave from a psychiatric hospital was arrested at the Eiffel Tower after bursting past security shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).

Police initially treated that case as a criminal affair but it was later upgraded to an anti-terror investigation after he said during questioning that he had wanted to kill a soldier.

Comments 7
Thumb s.o.s 21 August 2017, 16:15

Of course the nut cases were going to copy other nut cases. The truth is the people like Khomeini, Yusuf, Bin Laden, Nusrallaa, Al Baghdadi, belong is mental institutions or in a cemetery.

Their followers too, Point ala likh.

Thumb ___flamethrower___ 21 August 2017, 17:36

lulz @ the basement dweller

Missing humble 21 August 2017, 18:51

Absolutely, all these people are mentally ill...

Thumb Maxx 21 August 2017, 22:25

..So do Michel Aoun, Donald Drumpf, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen, and a plethora of other a-holes and d-bags. For better or worse, however, living in a free society implies that the pieces-of-s have the same inalienable Human rights as even the most outstanding citizens. I don't know about you, but I think targeting individuals is a lost cause; what we should be targeting are the a-hole ideologies that put the aforementioned d-bags in power in the first place.

Thumb Elemental 22 August 2017, 07:13

Visited Lebanon yet Roar? Try not to blindly follow what the Iranian your sleeping with says ok?

Missing humble 21 August 2017, 18:55

There is one place waiting for all these people. It is called Hell. Satan will be welcoming them. All of them.

Those who go to Heaven are those who spread Love, not war.

Thumb Elemental 22 August 2017, 07:13

Thanks Iran.