Louvre terror attack: Father insists son is not an Islamist extremist
Suspect was shot by soldiers at the entrance to the art gallery after attacking one with a machete
The father of the man accused of attempting to carry out a terror attack on the Louvre museum in Paris has denied he belonged to any Islamist groups.
Abdallah el-Hamahmy, 29, was shot four times by soldiers after attacking one of them with a machete when he was denied entrance to the shopping centre next to the famed gallery on Friday morning.
The Egyptian national, who arrived in Paris last week on a tourist visa issued in Dubai, is currently in hospital but his condition is no longer being described as life-threatening.
One soldier suffered minor injuries to his scalp.
Francois Hollande, the French President, said there was “no doubt” al-Hamahmy intended to carry out a terror attack.
Parisian police said he had been carrying a bag with a second machete and spray cans filled with paint but no explosives.
His father said el-Hamahmy, who had no criminal record or known links to extremist organisations, was a “very normal young man”.
Reda el-Hamahmy said he was shocked to learn of his son’s involvement in the attack and found out the news from Facebook.
He told Reuters: "Is he alive? Is he dead? Was it really him?
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"For them to say in the end that he is a terrorist is nonsense... this is a cover up so they don't have to apologise or justify the acts of this soldier who used brute force with a poor young man of 29.
"I find it incomprehensible that a young man on his way to commit a terrorist act only has a knife with him. If you tell me he had a gun, a rifle, then yes, I'd believe you, but I don't know... all we want is the truth,"
According to his father, el-Hamahmy, who is married with a seven month-old child, had been visiting Paris on a business trip from his home in the United Arab Emirates and had told his family that he planned to take in the sights before his return to Dubai.
He had sent his father a photo of himself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower shortly before the attempted attack on the Louvre.
Following the attack his brother Ahmed, who works at the health ministry in Dubai, was interrogated for several hours by UAE security officials.
Meanwhile in Egypt, several domestic security agency officers visited the family home in the Nile Delta on Friday night to question family members.
According to police el-Hamahmy had paid €1,700 (£1,462) for a one-week stay at a Paris apartment in the upmarket eighth arrondissement near the Champs-Elysees. While in the capital he bought the two military machetes at a gun store.
On the Twitter account of an "Abdallah el-Hamahmy," a tweet was posted about a trip from Dubai to Paris on 26 January. In the profile photo, al-Hamahmy is seen smiling and leaning against a wall in a blue-and-white jacket.
In another tweet in Arabic written shortly before the Louvre attack, the account posted: "No negotiation, no compromise, no letting up, certainly no climb down, relentless war."