Paris: 4 family members detained after Champs-Elysees attack

A man on the radar of French authorities for extremism was killed Monday after ramming a auto carrying arms and explosives into a police convoy on Paris' famed Champs-Elysees Avenue, setting off a fiery blast and a cloud of orange smoke, officials said. He said they were in London shortly after the recent big attack there.

Visitors to an art exhibit of Auguste Rodin's works in central Paris were confined inside the Grand Palais for an hour after an attacker rammed into a police convoy on the nearby Champs-Elysees.

Members of the public were told to avoid the area after a driver crashed his Renault Megane into a van carrying gendarmes (French military police) at around 15:40.

"Apparently, it's a deliberate act", a source close to the investigation said.

"We were waiting to cross the street and suddenly heard an explosion and the vehicle was in flames", said Eugenio Morcilla, who captured video after the collision.

Authorities say the driver was arrested after being injured in a subsequent apparent clash with police.

Authorities say a driver has rammed his auto into a police vehicle in the Champs-Elysees shopping district.

Leonard Odihe said he saw officers break into the vehicle, pull the man out and throw two weapons on the ground, "a big pistol and another big arm like the weapons police carry".

In London on Monday, a van plowed into a crowd of Muslims near a London mosque early on Monday, leaving one person dead and injuring 10 others in the second terror attack this month in the British capital.

- Last month, a man attacked an officer with a hammer at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, proclaiming, "This is for Syria", French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. The local mayor Sylvain Tanguy said the family was "very discreet and didn't go out much". The officials weren't authorized to be publicly named.

French security forces are on high alert after a series of deadly attacks since early 2015, majority claimed by the Islamic State extremist organization, which have killed over 230 people.

A man could be seen lying on his stomach on the ground immediately after the incident, wearing a white shirt and dark shorts.

No police officers or passers-by were hurt, the Paris police department said.

The reason for the operation remains unclear.

Police have closed two of the metro stations on the Champs-Elysees, a major tourist draw in the French capital.

  • Leroy Wright