The driver, 29, was seriously injured when the soldiers shot at him, but according to a government statement, his injuries are not life threatening. Authorities said the man was taken to a hospital, where his wife had arrived to visit him, but he had yet to be questioned and his motives are still unknown.
Local intelligence services in Valence had no information on the man, who is a French native, the Guardian reported. He is from a Lyon suburb, about an hour from Valence.
A 72-year-old male passerby was injured during the incident by a stray shot from one of the soldier that struck his calf, Valence Mayor Nicolas Daragon told the iTELE news channel.
“The four soldiers were in front of the mosque, a moderate, quiet mosque, in between two prayer sessions, at a time when many worshippers arrived,” Daragon said. “A car drove at them.”
The driver tried twice to ram his car at the soldiers before they shot at him on his second attempt, the mayor said.
Since the November attack that killed 130 in Paris, France has been on high alert. Soldiers are stationed around the country, protecting sensitive places such as official buildings and religious sites.