France wants to involve psychiatrists in preventing attacks
Aug. 22, 2017
PARIS (AP) — France wants to involve psychiatrists in preventing attacks like the one in which a mentally unstable man drove into two Marseille bus stops, killing a woman, the country's interior minister said Tuesday.
Gerard Collomb said that about one-third of the thousands of people on a French watch list for radicalization are known to have psychological problems. The minister said a philosophy book and a "general book on Islam" were found in the Marseille driver's van.
"We need to protect ourselves," he said in an interview on BFM-TV.
Authorities have ruled out terrorism as a motive for the man who allegedly rammed a van into the bus stops about 5 kilometers (3 miles) apart on Monday. They said the suspect had been undergoing psychological treatment.
One woman was killed and another injured. Police initially described the injured pedestrian as a man.
Collomb noted that the 35-year-old suspect had served time in prison and been treated in a psychiatric hospital. People suffering from certain psychiatric problems can "imitate" the jihadis who carry out attacks and "can take action" themselves, he said.
He didn't provide details of how psychiatrists would be drawn into averting attacks, but said he was working with the French Health Ministry.
A week earlier, another driver with mental health problems deliberately accelerated into a pizzeria east of Paris, killing an adolescent girl.
As in the Marseille case, authorities said the suspect had mental health problems and did not act with terror as a motive. He is facing preliminary murder charges.
French intelligence has managed to prevent nine attacks so far this year, he said.
He said that 217 people, including 54 minors, have returned to France so far from Syria and Iraq, where many had fought alongside radicals of the Islamic State group or other extremist militias.