French Soldiers Open Fire When Car Hits Them Near Mosque

PHOTO: A unidentified man rammed his car into four soldiers guarding a mosque in the city of Valence, France on Jan. 1, 2016.
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French soldiers opened fire at a car that hit them at a mosque they were guarding in the southeastern city of Valence, officials said. Two people and one solider were hurt.

In what officials are calling a "surprising incident," a person drove toward the soldiers -- who were guarding the mosque -- and knocked them to the ground, said Frédéric Loiseau, the Secretary General of the Drome Prefecture, where Valence is located.

Loiseau told French TV channel I-télé that the driver then put the car in reverse as if trying to ram into the soldiers. At that point, the soldiers had stood up and told the driver to stop. When the person didn't, the soldiers opened fire, Loiseau said.

Loiseau said only one person was in the red Peugeot 307. The person, who authorities have not identified, was shot in the arm and leg and was taken to the hospital. The French Interior and Defense Ministers said in a joint statement that the driver was "seriously" injured and that authorities are waiting to question the person.

During the incident, one of the soldiers suffered a slight injury to the leg, and bystander was hit by a stray bullet in the calf, authorities said.

France has been on high alert since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris left 130 dead and many injured. The European country has increased security at several places of worship and other sites around the nation, even scaling back on end-of-year celebrations and urging people to avoid crowds.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.