A driver shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) deliberately ran down pedestrians in the French town of Dijon on Sunday, a day after a man shouting the same words attacked policemen with a knife.
The Islamic State and other terrorism groups have called repeatedly for attacks on France in response to French support for U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq. Some extremists have called for “lone wolves” to carry out attacks with whatever weapons they have on hand.
In September, Islamic State militants decapitated a French mountaineer in retaliation for France’s role in the air strikes.
After Sunday’s attack, Police said bystanders heard the driver shout “Allahu Akbar” and refer to the “the children of Palestine,” the Associated Press reported.
The French interior ministry said 11 people were injured by the driver. According to the Guardian, the driver rammed into five separate groups of pedestrians in a half-hour before he was arrested. The 40-year-old driver of the Renault Clio had been receiving psychiatric treatment. He had a record of minor offenses in the 1990s.
The incident follows a knife attack on Saturday more than 200 miles west of Dijon in the town of Joue-les-Tours. A Muslim convert from Burundi shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he pulled a knife on police, injuring three officers before they shot him dead.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attacker had minor delinquency offenses, but had shown recent signs of radicalization, including posting a black Islamic State flag on his Facebook page a few days before the attack.
It’s not clear whether the two incidents are related. The interior minister would not confirm terrorism as a motive in either attack, but anti-terrorism officials are involved in the investigation.
The weekend’s incidents in France follow a siege in Sydney last week during which a self-described Muslim cleric took 17 people hostage in a chocolate shop.