10 Hurt as Man Drives Van Into Xmas Shoppers

2nd such attack in 2 days shakes France
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2014 12:33 AM CST
10 Hurt as Man Drives Van Into Xmas Shoppers
A police officer guards the van that crashed into a French Christmas market in Nantes, western France, last night.   (AP Photo/Laetitia Notarianni)

France has been rattled by the second attack on pedestrians in two days. In the latest incident, a man drove a van into a crowd of people at a Christmas market in the city of Nantes, injuring at least 10 people, five seriously. Police say the 25-year-old driver tried to kill himself with a knife after the attack, but he survived and was hospitalized in serious condition, the Guardian reports. On Sunday, a man shouting "Allahu akbar" ran over 11 pedestrians in Dijon, and the day before that, a man shouting the same thing was shot dead after attacking police officers with a knife near the city of Tours.

France's interior minister says the latest attack appears to be an isolated incident and not a terrorist attack, although police are investigating a notebook found with the driver, reports CNN. Authorities have called for calm and are "reluctant to say anything to encourage the idea that there is any kind of pattern behind the three attacks," notes Hugh Schofield at the BBC. "But many people will be asking themselves if there is not some copycat effect being played out," he writes. "Also, even if it is established the car attacks were the work of unbalanced individuals, might not Islamist propaganda have played some role in pushing them to the act?" (More France stories.)

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