Image: crashed car
Antonio Calanni  /  AP
A car that crashed through a window into a departure terminal is seen Monday at Milan's Malpensa airport.
updated 2/21/2011 1:05:40 PM ET 2011-02-21T18:05:40

A Tunisian man armed with a knife crashed a stolen vehicle through a window into a departure terminal at Milan's Malpensa airport on Monday, and police shot and wounded him, authorities said.

The attacker was driving with his wife and three young children, and Italian news agencies quoted police Chief Marcello Cardona as saying terrorism was not the motive.

Luigi Pagani, a worker at the airport, was changing shifts with a colleague just meters (yards) away when the car's hood smashed through a window.

"I thought initially it was an accident. It wasn't like they smashed through the window and erupted armed into the terminal," Pagani said.

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A few moments passed, "then he came out of the vehicle the knife well-exposed. We didn't ask a lot of questions. We thought only of getting away."

Giovanni Pepe, head of the airport border police, said the driver was brandishing the knife as he approached a group of police on patrol inside the terminal. One shot the man's foot when he refused to drop it.

The attacker had been driving a stolen vehicle accompanied by his wife and three children, ranging in age from 5 to 10, when it crashed into the airport glass, Pepe said.

Statements by the man, of Tunisian origin, and his Italian wife made little sense, and failed to explain the action, Pepe said.

The attacker was treated at a hospital, then taken to jail, the policeman said. The Tunisian's motive was not known.

Milan's Malpensa airport was briefly evacuated, but it resumed normal operations 90 minutes after the attack.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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