One dead as van drives into a bus stop in Marseille
One woman has been killed and another person has been seriously injured after a van struck two bus shelters in the southern French City of Marseille this morning, police have confirmed.
The driver was arrested not far away from the scene of the fatal incident, which was attended by both counter terrorism police and armed soldiers, who told Reuters that "At the moment we have no information on the motives of this individual".
Earlier in the morning, the vehicle had struck another bus shelter in a different area of the city seriously injuring one person before driving through the city and ploughing into another bus shelter.
According to French prosecutors, the incident is not currently being treated as a terrorist incident, with multiple reports saying that the driver was known to the police and may have had mental health issues. It is believed that officers spotted the offender in his vehicle in the Vieux Port area of Marseille, where they arrested a 35-year-old man. The reports, which at this stage remain unconfirmed, also say that the man has a criminal record for "acts of minor delinquency" but was not believed to have been known to the French intelligence services for having links to terrorism.
BFMTV are reporting that the vehicle in question was a stolen Renault Espace and that the driver was said to have had "psychological problems". Despite it not being treated as a terrorist incident, police are advising locals and tourists to stay away from the area for the time being.
The first incident took place around around 09:15 on Monday morning when the driver hit a bus stop in Croix Rouge in the 13th district, seriously injuring one person. However, at around 10:00am, the second bus stop was struck by the same vehicle at Valentine in the 11th district, where one woman died.
Julien Ravier, the mayor of the 11th and 12th arrondissement, told local reporters that the woman who died in the incident was in her 40s and was waiting at the bus stop on her own.
France, and Europe in general, is on high alert in the wake of several terrorist attacks that have hit the country in recent times. On Bastille day last year, and shortly along the coast from Marseille, more than 80 people were killed when a lorry was driven into celebrating crowds on the seafront of Nice. The attack was later claimed by the so-called Islamic State, who have also laid claim to several other fatal incidents across Europe.
The incident also comes at a time where by Spanish police are continuing their search for the 22-year-old driver who is believed to have ploughed a van into a crowd of people in Barcelona on Thursday. The suspect has now been named as Younes Abouyaaqoub and Spanish officials aren't ruling out the possibility that he may have slipped the border and travelled into France after the attack.