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French man shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’ while driving into crowd

French Gendarmes with Mobile Gendarmeries Armored Group role-play as rioters while U.S. Marines with SPMAGTF-CR-AF train in crowd and riot control techniques at the National Gendarmerie Training Center in St. Astier, France, Dec. 2, 2014. (Cpl. Jeraco Jenkins/U.S. Marine Corps)
September 14, 2018

Early Friday morning in France, a man attempted to carry out a terror attack outside a crowded bar.

Witnesses heard the 32-year-old suspect shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he attempted to drive his car into a crowd of approximately 50 people outside a bar in the southern city of Nimes, France, Daily Mail reported Friday.

The man’s white Peugeot vehicle was stopped by barriers before he collided into the crowd. The barriers were recently set up for an annual town festival featuring grape harvesting and bullfighting, an event that is expected to host thousands of visitors.

Two people standing just beyond the barriers received minor injuries to their legs.

The suspect attempted to flee, but the crowd chased him down and beat him, then restraining him until police arrived.

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He was not known to police as a radical suspect. Public prosecutor Eric Maurel noted that the suspect appeared to be in a state of “mental confusion” during his arrest, and was hospitalized for the condition.

The suspect currently remains held for attempted murder.

Police did not comment on his motives. Anti-terror police are not handling the investigation, so it is unclear whether or not it has been deemed an attempted terror attack.

In Jan. 2018, French authorities foiled a terror plot that was to be carried out in the same city of Nimes. Police arrested the man and found bomb-making materials in his home, France 24 reported. Police were alerted when they discovered the man attempting to purchase a weapon while he was known to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

In 2014, the Islamic State issued a memorandum calling on followers to attack Americans, French, and any of their allies.

“If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him. Do not lack. Do not be contemptible. Let your slogan be, “May I not be saved if the cross worshipper and taghūt (ruler ruling by manmade laws) patron survives,” the directive said, cited by Politico.

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The directive was authored by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the leader of the Islamic State in Syria, who also serves as the spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq. The U.S. State Department currently has a $5 million bounty for al-Adnani.

Followers of ISIS have taken the directive to heart, having used vehicles in numerous terror attacks around the world. At least 14 attacks have taken place since the memo was issued in 2014, killing at least 142 people, according to a CNN timeline.

The deadliest in recent years occurred just two years ago in Nice, France when Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a 20-ton rental truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing 86. French officials confirmed that Bouhlel was radicalized by ISIS propaganda.

Other attacks have been carried out using weapons such as knives, chemicals, bombs, and more.