Driver dies after ramming auto into police van in Paris

Paris police block off a car used in an attack on officers

A driver deliberately rammed his vehicle into a police van as it drove down Paris' Champs Elysees avenue and was probably killed, police said, adding that no officers or bystanders were injured and the situation was under control.

The French police on Monday "downed" a suspected attacker who drove into a police vehicle on the Champs-Elysees shopping district in Paris.

Police carry away the dead body of a man who rammed into a police convoy and detonated an explosive device on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris.

Police were treating the incident as a deliberate act, and the Paris prosecutor opened a terrorism investigation.

The latest attack came two days before the French government is to unveil a new anti-terrorism law, created to allow the state of emergency to be lifted.

French Interior Ministry spokesperson Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters the small white auto burst into flames shortly after colliding with the police mobile unit, and that the driver has died as a result.

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In June a hammer-wielding Algerian man was shot and wounded by police after he struck an officer on the head in front of Paris' Notre Dame cathedral.

"We saw big flames coming out of the front windows of the vehicle", 16-year-old eyewitness Adrien Cairo told Reuters. Weapons and explosives were found inside the vehicle. Police closed the street but said the situation was under control.

"They got out of a police truck and tried to break the glass and take the man out, they shot and threw tear gas and they took him out by force." he said. The Paris police bomb squad, immediately summoned to the site, helped extinguish the flames.

Security analysts say vehicle attacks often represent last-ditch attempts at violence that are hard to prevent.

The suspect is wearing a white shirt and dark shorts and prone on his stomach on the avenue. The officer's injuries were not serious.

Monday's incident came less than a day after a vehicle attack on Muslim worshipers outside a mosque in north London.