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PARIS — A driver who ran down 13 pedestrians in France while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great" — has a known history of psychiatric problems and was not carrying out "a terrorist act," a prosecutor said Monday. The man, who was arrested after Sunday's rampage in the city of Dijon, has sought psychiatric assistance 157 times in the past 13 years, Marie-Christine Tarrare told a news conference. The suspect also invoked "the children of Palestine"' to explain his actions, according to witnesses, but Tarrare said there was "nothing in his history that ties him to Islamic activity."
Tarrare said he became distraught watching a television documentary on about children in the breakaway southern Russian region of Chechnya and admitted his role. The driver, who was in his forties, hit groups of pedestrians in five parts of the city. Six of the victims were still in hospital Monday but their lives were not in danger, Tarrare said. The incident occurred one day after police in a suburb of Tours shot and killed a man also shouting "Allahu Akbar" who had stabbed and wounded three officers in a police station.
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