TPM World News

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A police operation was underway Monday in an area west of Barcelona, and a Spanish newspaper reports that the fugitive in the city’s van attack has been captured.

Regional police said officers shot a man wearing a possible explosives belt in Subirats, a small town 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Barcelona.

Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, has been the target of an international manhunt since Thursday’s van attack in Barcelona. Authorities said Monday they now have evidence he drove the van that plowed down the city’s famed Las Ramblas promenade, killing 13 pedestrians and injuring more than 120 others.

Abouyaaqoub then is suspected of carjacking a man and stabbing him to death as he made his getaway, raising the death toll between the Barcelona attack and a related attack hours later to 15.

Another vehicle attack early Friday by other members of what Catalonia regional police have described as a 12-member extremist cell killed one person and wounded several others in the coastal town of Cambrils. That ended in a shootout with police, who killed five attackers.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

La Vanguardia newspaper reported Abouyaaqoub was captured Sant Sadurni d’Anoia; the Catalan police tweeted that there was an ongoing police operation but did not confirm Abouyaaqoub’s capture in the area of Subirats about 45 kilometers (28 miles)outside Barcelona.

Abouyaaqoub is believed to have made his getaway in the stolen car with the body of its dead owner, Pau Perez, still inside.

Police have “scientific evidence” showing Abouyaaqoub drove the speeding van in Las Ramblas and also killed Perez on Thursday night, regional police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said Monday. He said the suspect walked through Barcelona for about 90 minutes after the van attack — through the famed La Boqueria market and nearly to Barcelona University — before hijacking the car.

Perez was parking his car, a Ford Focus, in a lot between 6:10 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. Abouyaaqoub stabbed him before 6:32 p.m., put him in the car’s rear seats and drove away, Trapero said.

Trapero said Perez was already dead when Abouyaaqoub then rammed the car through a police checkpoint minutes later and police opened fire on his car.

The suspect ran over a police officer as the car evaded the checkpoint. About 7 p.m., police found the car and Perez’s body 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) away from the checkpoint, near Sant Just Desvern, a town west of Barcelona, but Abouyaaqoub was nowhere to be found.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais published images Monday of what it says is Abouyaaqoub making a getaway on foot after the van attack. The three images show a slim man wearing sunglasses walking through the La Boqueria market.

Abouyaaqoub escaped and has not returned to his home in Ripoll, said Trapero. The manhunt for him reaches well beyond Spain’s borders. Four other suspects have been arrested.

Regional authorities said Monday that 50 people are still hospitalized from both attacks, nine of them in critical condition.

Abouyaaqoub was believed to be the lone attacker on the run by Sunday, but authorities hadn’t confirmed his identity because they were having difficulty identifying the remains of at least two extremists who died Wednesday in an explosion at a house in Alcanar where explosives were being prepared. The explosion destroyed the house, but police found remnants of over 100 butane gas tanks and materials needed for the TATP explosive, which has been used previously by Islamic State militants.

Those discoveries, and reports that Abouyaaqoub had rented three vans, suggested the militant cell was making plans for an even more massive attack on the city.

Catalonia’s regional president, meanwhile, said regional and local authorities rejected the Spanish government’s suggestion to place traffic barriers to protect the Las Ramblas promenade because they deemed them “inefficient.”

Carles Puigdemont told La Sexta television the barriers wouldn’t have prevented vehicles from entering the promenade at other points — and he said closing off Las Ramblas was impractical because emergency vehicles still needed access.

On Monday, mourners were still weeping and hugging each other as they visited the main memorial site of the Barcelona attack. Crowds of people continued to lay flowers, candles and heart-shaped balloons at the top of Las Ramblas and at other smaller tributes where the van created such carnage.

Las Ramblas regained some normality Monday, with throngs of people walking up and down, tourists arriving and residents going about their daily business.

“We have to stand strong in front of these betrayers, assassins, terrorists,” said resident Monserrat Mora. “Because Barcelona is strong and they will not be able to prevail with us.”

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — U.S. and South Korean troops kicked off their annual drills Monday that come after President Donald Trump and North Korea exchanged warlike rhetoric in the wake of the North’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills are largely computer-simulated war games held every summer and have drawn furious responses from North Korea, which views them as an invasion rehearsal. Pyongyang’s state media on Sunday called this year’s drills a “reckless” move that could trigger the “uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”

Despite the threat, U.S. and South Korean militaries launched this year’s 11-day training on Monday morning as scheduled. The exercise involves 17,500 American troops and 50,000 South Korean soldiers, according to the U.S. military command in South Korea and Seoul’s Defense Ministry.

No field training like live-fire exercises or tank maneuvering is involved in the Ulchi drills, in which alliance officers sit at computers to practice how they engage in battles and hone their decision-making capabilities. The allies have said the drills are defensive in nature.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said Monday that North Korea must not use the drills as a pretext to launch fresh provocation, saying the training is held regularly because of repeated provocations by North Korea.

North Korea typically responds to South Korea-U.S. military exercises with weapons tests and a string of belligerent rhetoric. During last year’s Ulchi drills, North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile that flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) in the longest flight by that type of weapon. Days after the drills, the North carried out its fifth and biggest nuclear test to date.

Last month North Korea test-launched two ICBMs at highly lofted angles, and outside experts say those missiles can reach some U.S. parts like Alaska, Los Angeles or Chicago if fired at normal, flattened trajectories. Analysts say it would be only a matter of time for the North to achieve its long-stated goal of acquiring a nuclear missile that can strike anywhere in the United States.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump pledged to answer North Korean aggression with “fire and fury.” North Korea, for its part, threatened to launch missiles toward the American territory of Guam before its leader Kim Jong Un backed off saying he would first watch how Washington acts before going ahead with the missile launch plans.

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MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has appointed a former deputy defense minister as Russia’s new ambassador to the United States.

The Kremlin said on Monday Putin has replaced Sergei Kislyak, whose tenure ended in July, with Anatoly Antonov, a deputy foreign minister and former deputy defense minister seen as a hardliner regarding the U.S.

The outgoing ambassador played a prominent role the controversy over Russia’s possible involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned after lying about contacts with Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election after reports that he hadn’t disclosed meetings with Kislyak.

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BERLIN (AP) — Left-wing groups and Berlin residents prevented more than 500 far-right extremists from marching Saturday to the place where high-ranking Nazi official Rudolf Hess died 30 years ago.

Police in riot gear kept the neo-Nazis and an estimated 1,000 counter-protesters apart as the two sides staged competing rallies in the German capital’s western district of Spandau.

Far-right protesters had planned to march to the site of the former Spandau prison, where Hess hanged himself in 1987, but were forced to turn back after about a kilometer (0.6 miles) because of a blockade by counter-protesters.

After changing their route, the neo-Nazis, who had come from all over Germany and neighboring European countries, returned to Spandau’s main station for speeches amid jeers and chants of “Nazis go home!” and “You lost the war!” from counter-protesters.

Authorities had imposed restrictions on the march to ensure that it passed peacefully. Organizers were told they couldn’t glorify Hess or the Nazi regime, carry weapons, drums or torches, and could bring only one flag for every 25 participants.

Such restrictions are common in Germany and rooted in the experience of the pre-war Weimar Republic, when opposing political groups would try to forcibly interrupt their rivals’ rallies, resulting in frequent street violence.

Police in Germany say they generally try to balance protesters’ rights to free speech and free assembly against the rights of counter-demonstrators and residents. The rules mean that shields, helmets and batons carried by far-right and Neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville wouldn’t be allowed in Germany. Openly anti-Semitic chants would also prompt German police to intervene.

Neo-Nazi protesters on Saturday were frisked and funneled through tents where police checked them for weapons, forbidden flags and tattoos showing symbols banned in Germany, such as the Nazi swastika. A number of far-right protesters emerged from the tents with black tape covering their arms or legs.

Organizers imposed a number of their own rules on the marchers: they were encouraged to wear smart, white shirts and were told not to speak to the media.

Among those demonstrating against the neo-Nazis was Jossa Berntje from the western city of Koblenz. The 64-year-old cited the clashes in Charlottesville and her parents’ experience of living under the Nazis as her reason for coming.

“The rats are coming out of the sewers,” she said. “(President Donald) Trump has made it socially acceptable.”

Hess, who received a life sentence at the Nuremberg trials for his role in planning World War II, died on Aug. 17, 1987. Allied authorities ruled his death a suicide, but Nazi sympathizers have long claimed he was killed and organize annual marches in his honor.

Those annual far-right marches used to take place in the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel, where Hess was buried until authorities removed his remains.

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This story corrects the spelling of Berntje.

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The back-to-back vehicle attacks in Barcelona and a nearby resort had been planned for a long time by an Islamic terrorist cell — and could have been far deadlier had its base not been destroyed by an apparently accidental explosion this week, Spanish officials said Friday.

Police intensified their manhunt for an unknown number of suspects still on the loose Friday. They shot and killed five people early Friday who were wearing fake bomb belts as they attacked the seaside resort of Cambrils with a speeding car. Police also arrested four others believed linked to the Cambrils attack and the carnage Thursday on a famous Barcelona promenade.

The number of victims stood at 13 dead and 120 wounded in Barcelona, and one dead and five wounded in Cambrils. Sixty-one people wounded by the van in Barcelona remained hospitalized on Friday, with 17 of them in critical condition.

Authorities said the two attacks were related and the work of a large terrorist cell that had been plotting attacks for a long time from a house in Alcanar, 200 kilometers (124 miles) down the coast from Barcelona. The house was destroyed by an explosion of butane gas on Wednesday night that killed one person.

Senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said police were working on the theory that the suspects were preparing a different type of attack, using explosives or gas, and that the apparently accidental explosion prevented them from carrying out a far more deadly rampage.

The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility for Europe’s latest bout of extremist violence, in which a van roared down Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas promenade on Thursday. Hours later, a blue Audi plowed into people in the popular seaside town of Cambrils.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared Friday that the fight against terrorism was a global battle and Europe’s main problem.

Police said they arrested two more people Friday, after an initial two were arrested Thursday — three Moroccans and one Spaniard, none with terrorism-related records. Three of them were nabbed in the northern town of Ripoll. Another arrest was made in Alcanar.

“We are not talking about a group of one or two people, but rather a numerous group,” regional Interior Ministry chief Joaquim Forn told Onda Cero radio.

Amid heavy security, Barcelona tried to move forward Friday, with its iconic Las Ramblas promenade quietly reopening to the public and King Felipe VI and Rajoy joining thousands of residents and visitors in observing a minute of silence in the city’s main square.

“We are not afraid! We are not afraid!” the crowd chanted in Catalan and Spanish.

But the dual attacks unnerved a country that hasn’t seen an Islamic extremist attack since 2004, when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated assaults on Madrid’s commuter trains. Unlike France, Britain, Sweden and Germany, Spain has largely been spared, thanks in part to a crackdown that has netted some 200 suspected jihadis in recent years.

Authorities were still reeling from the Barcelona van attack when police in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the south, fatally shot five people near the town’s boardwalk who had plowed into tourists and locals with their car. Forn said the five were wearing fake bomb belts.

One woman in Cambrils died Friday from her injuries, Catalan police said. Five others were injured.

Cambrils Mayor Cami Mendoza said the town had taken precautions after the Barcelona attack, but the suspects focused their attack on the narrow path to the boardwalk, which is usually packed.

“We were on a terrace,” said bystander Jose Antonio Saez. “We heard the crash and intense gun shots, then the dead bodies on the floor, shot by the police.”

Others described scenes of panic, and found safety inside bars and restaurants until police had secured the area.

Resident Markel Artabe was heading out to get an ice cream when he heard the shots.

“We began to run. We saw one person lying on the pavement with a shot in his head, then 20 to 30 meters farther on we saw two more people, who must have been terrorists as they had explosive belts around them,” he said. “We were worried so we hid.”

Regional police say the Cambrils suspects, armed with knives and an ax, wounded one person in the face with a knife before they were killed by police.

The Cambrils attack came hours after a white van mowed down pedestrians on Barcelona’s picturesque Las Ramblas promenade, leaving victims sprawled across the street, spattered with blood and writhing in pain from broken limbs. Others were ushered inside shops by officers with guns drawn or fled in panic, carrying young children in their arms.

“It was clearly a terror attack, intended to kill as many people as possible,” Trapero said.

The Islamic State group said on its Aamaq news agency that the Barcelona attack was carried out by “soldiers of the Islamic State” in response to its calls for followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive the extremist group from Syria and Iraq.

Islamic extremists have systematically targeted Europe’s major tourist attractions in recent years. Rented or hijacked vehicles have formed the backbone of a strategy to target the West and its cultural symbols. Barcelona’s Las Ramblas is one of the most popular attractions in a city that swarms with foreign tourists in August.

The dead and wounded in the two attacks hailed from 34 countries.

Spanish public broadcaster RTVE and other news outlets named one of those detained in the Barcelona attack as Driss Oukabir, a French citizen of Moroccan origin. RTVE reported that Oukabir went to police in Ripoll to report that his identity documents had been stolen. Spanish media said documents with his name were found in the attack van and that he claimed his brother might have stolen them.

Citing police sources, Spain’s RTVE as well as El Pais and TV3 identified the brother, 17-year-old Moussa Oukabir, as the suspected driver of the van. Forn declined to respond to questions about him Friday.

“We don’t know if the driver is still in Barcelona or not, or what direction he fled in,” Forn told SER Radio.

Forn said the police were trying to identify the five dead attackers in Cambrils as well as the driver of the Barcelona van.

“There could be more people in Ripoll connected to the group,” he said, adding that the two attacks “follow the same trail. There is a connection.”

Rajoy called the killings a “savage terrorist attack” and said Spaniards “are not just united in mourning, but especially in the firm determination to beat those who want to rob us of our values and our way of life.”

By Friday morning, Las Ramblas promenade had reopened to the public, albeit under heavy surveillance and an unusual quiet.

“It’s sad,” New York tourist John Lanza said, as the family stood outside the gated La Boqueria market. “You can tell it’s obviously quieter than it usually is, but I think people are trying to get on with their lives.”

At noon Friday, a minute of silence honoring the victims was observed at the Placa Catalunya, near the top of Las Ramblas where the van attack started. The presence of Spain’s king and prime minister alongside Catalonia’s regional authorities marked a rare moment when the question of Catalonian independence — the subject of a proposed Oct. 1 referendum — didn’t divide its people.

Rajoy declared three days of national mourning.

Since the Madrid train bombings, the only deadly attacks in Spain had been bombings claimed by the Basque separatist group ETA that killed five people over the past decade. It declared a cease-fire in 2011.

“Unfortunately, Spaniards know the absurd and irrational pain that terrorism causes. We have received blows like this in recent years, but we also know that terrorists can be beaten,” Rajoy said.

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HELSINKI (AP) — A man stabbed eight people Friday in Finland’s western city of Turku, killing two of them, before police shot him in the thigh and detained him, police said. Authorities were looking for more potential suspects in the attack.

A suspect — who police said was “a youngish man with a foreign background” — was being treated in the city’s main hospital but was in police custody. Security was being stepped up across the Nordic country, Interior Minister Paula Risikko told reporters at a news conference.

The man’s identity and nationality were being investigated. Police said he is likely to have acted alone though it was not possible to completely rule out that other people were involved.

Police did not give any information on the two people killed or the conditions of those wounded in downtown Turku, 170 kilometers (106 miles) west of Helsinki, the capital.

Finland’s top police chief, Seppo Kolehmainen, said it was too early to link the attack to international terrorism.

“Nothing is known about the motives … or what precisely has happened in Turku,” he said.

It was also not known if Friday’s attack was linked to a decision in June by Finland’s security agency to raise its threat assessment to the second level of a four-step scale. The Finnish Security Intelligence Service says the country’s “stronger profile within the radical Islamist propaganda” led to the change. It said the Nordic country is now considered part of the coalition against the Islamic State group.

The Ilta-Sanomat tabloid said six people were injured in the attack, one man and five women, and that a woman with stroller had been attacked by a man with a large knife. Finnish broadcaster YLE said several people were seen lying on the ground in Puutori Square after the attack.

Witness Laura Laine told YLE she was about 20 meters (65 feet) away as the attack took place.

“We heard a young woman screaming. We saw a man on the square and a knife glittered. He was waving it in the air. I understood that he had stabbed someone,” Laine was quoted as saying.

Finland’s government was closely monitoring the police investigation into the attack, Prime Minister Juha Sipila said.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto arrived at Turku later Friday and condemned the attack as “a shocking and cowardly act.”

“This attack touches us all deeply,” said Niinisto, adding that the country’s political leaders and security officials were doing their utmost “so that all Finns are able to feel safe.”

For now, people were avoiding downtown Turku.

“Police have told us not to go to the city center, so we are in this coffee shop a few blocks away,” said Vanessa Deggins, an American studying business at one of Turku’s three universities, told The Associated Press. She didn’t witness the attack, but heard emergency sirens going past.

“This is a safe country by American standards. I have gone home alone at 2-3 a.m. … I feel safe,” she said.

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s president warned Tuesday that it could ramp up its nuclear program and quickly achieve a more advanced level if the U.S. continues “threats and sanctions” against the country, which signed a landmark nuclear accord with world powers in 2015.

Hassan Rouhani’s remarks to lawmakers were his most direct warning that the deal could fall apart, and risked ratcheting up tensions with the United States. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he wants to scuttle the accord, which limited Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon while ending most sanctions against it.

Earlier this week, Iran’s parliament voted to increase spending on the country’s ballistic missile program and the foreign operations of its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. The move came in response to U.S. legislation passed earlier this month imposing mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. The U.S. legislation also applies terrorism sanctions to the Guard and enforces an existing arms embargo.

If Washington continues with “threats and sanctions” against Iran, Rouhani said in parliament on Tuesday, Tehran could easily ramp up its nuclear activities.

“In an hour and a day, Iran could return to a more advanced (nuclear) level than at the beginning of the negotiations” that preceded the 2015 deal, Rouhani said, though he underlined that Iran’s preference is to remain in the accord.

The maneuvering around the Iran deal comes at a time when tensions have skyrocketed between the U.S and North Korea, which has tested nuclear weapons and threatened in recent weeks to fire a ballistic missile into the waters off the U.S. territory of Guam.

The agreement between Iran and world powers two years ago capped Iran’s uranium enrichment levels in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

The U.S. and other world powers fear Iran seeks the ability to produce atomic weapons. Iran has long denied that it seeks nuclear arms and says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.

It was not immediately clear what Rouhani was referring to — and whether he meant Iran could restart centrifuges enriching uranium to higher and more dangerous levels.

He also offered no evidence of Iran’s capability to rapidly restart higher enrichment, though Iran still has its stock of centrifuges. Those devices now churn out uranium to low levels that can range from use as reactor fuel and for medical and research purposes, but could produce the much higher levels needed for a nuclear weapon.

In December, Rouhani ordered up plans to build nuclear-powered ships, something that appears to be allowed under the nuclear deal.

Rouhani’s remarks were likely an attempt to appease hard-liners at home who have demanded a tougher stand against the United States. But they are also expected to ratchet up tensions further with the Trump administration.

Iran has said the new U.S. sanctions amount to a “hostile” breach of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“The U.S. has shown that it is neither a good partner nor a trustable negotiator,” Rouhani added. “Those who are trying to go back to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past hallucinations. They deprive themselves of the advantages of peace.”

But Rouhani also tempered his own threat, adding that Iran seeks to remain loyal to its commitments under the nuclear deal, which opened a “path of cooperation and confidence-building” with the world.

“The deal was a model of the victory of peace and diplomacy over war and unilateralism,” said Rouhani. “It was Iran’s preference, but it was not and will not remain Iran’s only option.”

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GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland’s tourism office on Tuesday decried an “unfortunate” incident in which a small Alpine hotel posted a sign asking “Jewish guests” to shower before swimming in the hotel pool.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded the closure of the Paradies Arosa hotel, and issued a statement calling on “the broader Jewish community and their Gentile friends to blacklist this horrific hotel.” On Twitter, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called for “justice” against the hotel’s management.

Officials said the hotel in the eastern town of Arosa had apologized for the incident and taken the sign down. Hotel management didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Swiss Tourism spokesman Markus Berger called the sign unacceptable, adding: “It always needs to stay in perspective: This is one unfortunate incident.”

Under the headline “To our Jewish Guests,” the sign read: “Please take a shower before you go swimming. If you break the rules, I am forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you. Thank you for your understanding.”

Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister, posted an image of the sign on her Facebook page and wrote that “there can be no tolerance and no indifference” to anti-Semitism and racism, in comments that also alluded also to violence around a white supremacist rally in Virginia in the United States.

We “must not let there be a place in the free world for Nazi flags or Ku Klux Klan masks or ugly signs in hotels directed at Jews only,” she wrote. “We cannot allow acts of hate against Jews around the world to become normal.”

The secretary-general of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities said it was “really a dumb thing” to do, but he called for calm.

“It’s somebody who really didn’t think a lot,” Jonathan Kreutner said in a phone interview.

He said that calls to close the hotel were “very exaggerated,” Kreutner said. “This is the most important thing now: To stay cool. Things happened that are not good. I don’t want to reduce the problem behind this, but it is very important to stay cool.”

Kreutner said that most of the Jews who visit the area are from Belgium, Britain, Israel, Switzerland and the U.S.

Berger, the tourism spokesman, cited a recent trend of Orthodox and other Jews traveling to four Alpine villages in the area in the summertime, including Davos of World Economic Forum fame. He said didn’t know the origin of the trend, but that numbers “definitely in the thousands” have grown in recent years. He said many area hotels serve kosher food, and that Jewish guests “feel well-treated” there.

“It’s just this one lady at this one hotel who was not on top of the situation,” Berger said. “It’s an isolated incident that doesn’t need for greater action to be taken.”

Switzerland’s foreign ministry, responding to a request for comment from The Associated Press, said that it has been in touch with the Israeli ambassador and “outlined to him that Switzerland condemns racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in any form. Switzerland has been strongly committed for years – as it is at the moment, for example, within its presidency for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – to raise awareness to the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

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SEPT-SORTS, France (AP) — A man who may have been trying to kill himself rammed his car into a pizzeria east of Paris on Monday, killing a 13-year-old girl and injuring her younger brother and at least 11 others, authorities said.

The driver was immediately arrested. Police said the man’s actions in the town of Sept-Sorts were deliberate, but not thought to be terrorism-related.

The 13-year-old girl and her brother were among the restaurant patrons eating on the outdoor terrace of Pizzeria Cesena when a man in a BMW accelerated toward them, an official with the national gendarme service told The Associated Press.

The girl died immediately, while the boy’s injuries are considered life-threatening, the official said. At least three others were hospitalized in serious condition, and eight more sustained light injuries, said the official, who was not authorized to be publicly named.

The incident reignited fears in France after a string of attacks in which a vehicle was the weapon of choice. An Algerian man drove his car into a group of French soldiers last week, and an Islamic extremist truck attack in the French city of Nice left 86 people dead a little more than a year ago.

The man arrested in Monday’s attack is thought to have tried to kill himself last week, French Interior Ministry Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television. Brandet said the man, born in 1985, was not known to intelligence or police. He did not identify him.

Two police officials said the incident is considered over and authorities are not searching for accomplices, but to find out what motivated the driver.

A judicial official said Monday night that the Paris prosecutor’s office, which oversees French terrorism investigations, was not involved in the case because there was no proof of terrorism at this stage. A security official echoed that there was no evidence of a political or Islamic extremist motive.

The targeted pizzeria is in a shopping zone in the town of Sept-Sorts about 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Paris near Champagne country. Police cordoned off a large perimeter of the area.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she doesn’t see a military solution to rising tensions between the United States and North Korea and called for a de-escalation of the rhetoric.

Asked Friday about U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest statements, Merkel declined to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S. in case of a military conflict with North Korea. She said, “I don’t see a military solution and I don’t think it’s called for.”

Merkel called on the U.N. Security Council to continue to address the issue. She says Germany would work to find diplomatic solutions with the countries involved, the U.S. and China in particular, but also South Korea.

She added: “I think escalating the rhetoric is the wrong answer.”

Earlier this week, Trump said the U.S. would slam the North with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it provoked America again.

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