'Unbalanced' driver targets pedestrians in France

PARIS – A terrorist motive has been ruled out after an “unbalanced” man injured 13 people in France after repeatedly driving into pedestrians in the eastern city of Dijon.

Dijon deputy public prosecutor, Marie-Christine Tarrare, confirmed on Monday that the driver suffers from mental illness and is on medication.

"It's not definitely a terrorist act," Tarrare told a press conference, adding that the man is a French national born in Strasbourg.

Local police in Dijon said that two people were seriously injured in the incidents on Sunday night when the assailant ploughed into pedestrians in five separate locations in the city.

Police arrested the driver as he tried to flee the scene. He is now being monitored in a psychiatric hospital.

"This person definitely has a heavy psychiatric profile," Cote-d’Or police commissioner Eric Delzant told Europe 1 on Monday morning.

"He has been the subject of free admission to the specialized center of the Chartreuse at Dijon. He was followed, he had treatment. We can talk about someone who was probably quite unbalanced," he said.

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told reporters that French president Francois Hollande has called on the authorities to exercise the "utmost vigilance" and urged the public not to panic.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve visited the scene on Monday and called on people to show restraint and calm.

Media reports claimed that the 40-year-old man said his attack was "on behalf of the children of Palestine" and had shouted "Islamic slogans."

The incident comes a day after police shot dead a Muslim convert from Burundi who tried to stab an officer at a police station near the city of Tours in central France.

Three police officers were injured.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has expressed "his support to the victims of Dijon and their families."

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