Soldier shoots machete-wielding man who shouted 'Allahu Akbar' at the Louvre

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Soldier shoots machete-wielding man who shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ at the Louvre
By Yaron Steinbuch
February 3, 2017 | 4:53am | Updated

A French soldier shot and seriously wounded a machete-wielding man carrying two backpacks who yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he tried to enter a shopping area under the Paris Louvre museum in what police said appeared to be a terrorist attack.

The assailant whipped out a knife in the Carousel du Louvre — an underground shopping complex near the entrance to the famed museum – and lunged at soldiers who told him he could not enter with the bags, authorities said.

“That’s when he got the knife out and that’s when he tried to stab the soldier,” police official Yves Lefebvre said. Another soldier suffered a scalp injury in the melee.

The backpacks contained no explosives, police Chief Michel Cadot said.

“We are dealing with an attack from an individual who was clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat, and whose comments lead us to believe that he wished to carry out a terrorist incident.,” Cadot said, The Guardian of the UK reported.

A second person was detained but there did not appear to be a link between that person and the attack, he said.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the attack “terrorist in nature,” Agence France-Presse reported.

The identity and nationality of the attacker – who had a second, concealed machete on him — were not yet determined, French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters.

An anti-terrorism inquiry has been opened, the public prosecutor said in a statement, Reuters reported.

President Trump fired off a tweet is response to the attack.

“A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.,” he wrote.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the attack “terrorist in nature,” Agence France-Presse reported.

Olivier Majewski was just leaving his scooter in the parking lot beneath the Louvre when he saw about 30 or 40 people running and screaming, “There’s been a terror attack!”

The 53-year-old, who hid for about 15 minutes before making his way upstairs, said people were “panicked.”

Hector Clark, a visiting Londoner, was locked inside the Louvre along with other tourists.

“It was intense and everyone was scared at first because the situation was unclear but people settled down after we heard from the head of security that it was safe,” he told The Local.

“We got evacuated to the top floor, everything was calm and well handled, we have been up here for an hour or so but we are being allowed to leave now,” he added.

The incident at the Louvre – home of the world-famous Mona Lisa — occurred with France on its highest state of alert with thousands of troops patrolling the capital following a series of attacks in the last few years.

“The people who were in the museum — there were about 250 of them — were held at a distance and confined in secure areas of the Louvre,” Cadot said.

The soldiers had been taking part in Operation Sentenelle, foot patrols around French landmarks that have been in place since the deadly January 2015 attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.

Jihadist gunmen slaughtered 17 people in three days of bloodshed in retaliation for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

On Nov. 13 that year, ISIS jihadists attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium in Paris, killing 130 people.

And in July 2016, a Tunisian extremist rammed a truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice on France’s south coast, crushing 86 people to death.

In November, French police broke up an alleged jihadist terror ring that was believed to be planning to attack Paris.

The country is less than three months away from a presidential election in which security and fears of terrorism are among the key issues.

Paris also was planning to submit its official bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games on Friday with a launch show at the Eiffel Tower.

The Louvre was already suffering from a fall in visitor numbers in the wake of the terror attacks. Last year, numbers dropped 15 percent from 2015 to about 7.3 million, The Guardian reported.
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