Police shoot terrorist armed with machete at the Louvre
French soldiers shot and critically wounded a man who shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is great) as he attacked them with a machete yesterday at the Louvre museum.
Police sources said the attacker was a 29-year-old with Egyptian identity papers who arrived in France at the end of January. Hundreds of panicked visitors were rushed to secure rooms inside the sprawling museum after the assault.
The attack, which President François Hollande said was clearly an act of terrorism, was the latest in a series of deadly assaults in France over the past two years, most of them claimed by Isil. The assailant was carrying two backpacks when - at around 10am local time - he approached four soldiers patrolling at the entrance to the underground Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall, which lies beneath the museum.
They told him he could not bring his bags into the mall.
"That's when he got the knife out and that's when he tried to stab the soldier," said Yves Lefebvre, a police union official.
The soldiers first tried to beat off the attacker before opening fire, said Benoit Brulon, a spokesman for the 3,500-strong military force that patrols Paris and its major tourist attractions. They fired five rounds at the man, wounding him in the stomach and the leg, and leaving him in a critical condition.
Two soldiers suffered minor injuries in the encounter.
The attacker is thought to have entered France on a flight from Dubai, police sources said, but investigators were still trying to establish his identity. In his visa request to come to France, he declared that he was Egyptian.
The Louvre - one of the world's biggest tourist attractions - went into emergency lock-down after the attack. Last night, police launched several raids on properties in different parts of Paris in response to the attack, including Rue de Ponthieu, a street near the famous Champs-Élysées Avenue.