Three Chinese students injured in car attack near Toulouse

A man “deliberately” crashed into his car in a group of pedestrians, seriously injuring three Chinese students, one of them seriously, near the French city of Toulouse on Friday, authorities said, adding that the attack did not was not related to terrorism. The 28-year-old driver, arrested immediately after in the suburb of Blagnac, “deliberately hit three people” on a crosswalk, Toulouse prosecutor Pierre-Yves Couilleau said. The suspect, a single man who lives with his mother in Blagnac, had previously suffered from serious psychiatric problems and was released from a court-ordered hospital stay in December 2016, the prosecutor said. “What matters in this case is the person’s psychiatric profile,” he added. “The individual arrested immediately after the event said he had been planning this act for a month,” the prosecutor said later in a statement. Asked whether the man was motivated by terrorism, the prosecutor said the attack was “nothing of the sort”. The driver has already had around 10 convictions for crimes not related to terrorism, he said. The investigation should be managed by the ordinary judicial police rather than by the Paris counterterrorism unit, he added. The victims are Chinese exchange students at ICD-Toulouse International Business School. A 23-year-old woman was the most seriously injured, and two men, aged 22 and 23, were also injured and one of them is still in hospital, the prosecutor said. The woman’s life is not in danger, police said. The attack occurred in front of the Blagnac campus of the Institute for Social Research, an AFP journalist said. On Friday evening, French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb welcomed the police response, declaring that “the investigation will determine the nature of his act”. The attack came days after China asked France to “guarantee the safety” of its nationals, who are regularly victims of thieves. On November 2, a group of around 40 Chinese tourists was attacked with tear gas and robbed in front of a three-star hotel near Orly airport in Paris. On Friday, a 15-year-old at the time of the attack was sentenced by a juvenile court to two years in prison for violently assaulting and robbing a Chinese textile worker last year in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers. The 49-year-old man died five days from his injuries. France has also been the target of a series of vehicle attacks by extremists inspired by the Islamic State group. In July last year, a Tunisian plowed a 19-ton truck into a crowd in the southern city of Nice, killing 86 people.

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