Machete-wielding ‘terrorist’ shot near Louvre – USA TODAY
A French soldier reportedly shot a man who attacked a fellow soldier near the Louvre museum in Paris.
USA TODAY NETWORK
PARIS â FrenchÂ soldiers opened fire on a man wieldingÂ a machete who shouted “Allahu akbar” as he attacked themÂ near the Louvre museum in Paris on Friday. The attacker was seriously wounded and has been hospitalized.
TheÂ incident happened at the Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping center that connects to theÂ museum. TheÂ world-famous Louvre isÂ home toÂ Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.Â It wasn’t immediately clear if any tourists were at the scene of the attackÂ at theÂ time.
Yves Lefebvre, aÂ police union official, said the attacker, who was carrying two backpacks andÂ two machetes, attackedÂ a soldierÂ when he wasÂ toldÂ that he couldn’t bring his bags into the mall.
âThatâs when he got the knife out and thatâs when he tried to stab the soldier,âÂ Lefebvre said, according to the Associated Press.
French President FranÃ§ois Hollande saidÂ thereâs âno doubtâ that the attack was of a âterrorist nature.â Hollande said Friday that the situation isÂ âtotally under controlâ but the overall threat of terrorism to France remains, the AP reported.
The attacker wasÂ undergoing an emergency operation at the Georges Pompidou hospital,Â thelocal.frÂ reported.Â HollandeÂ said he expects the assailantÂ to be questioned âwhen it is possible to do so,â according to AP.
Benoit Brulon, a securityÂ official, saidÂ the four soldiersÂ tried to fight the manÂ off before opening fire, the AP reported. The attacker was shot five times, andÂ no explosives were found in his bags,Â Le MondeÂ reported.
Paris police chief Michel CadotÂ said the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar”, Arabic for “God is the greatest.” The man, who has not been named,Â was wounded in the stomach, he said.
The famed Louvre will stay closed for the rest of the day but is set to reopen on Saturday,Â
Franceâs culture ministerÂ
Audrey Azoulay said.
Some Parisians who heardÂ initial reportsÂ braced themselves for anotherÂ terror attack similar to the oneÂ in November 2015Â that killed 130 people atÂ locations in Paris including theÂ Bataclan concert hall.
“When the story broke at first, I said crap, it’s happening again, but then I saw it was quickly under control,” Jean Leroux, 29, an artist in Paris, told USA TODAY.
“In the end I saw it was a minor isolated act, and I thought it’s not like at the Bataclan,” Leroux added.
Austin Chang, 34, a tourist from Taiwan, was visiting Paris for the first time and went to the Louvre on Wednesday.
“It’s terrible,” he said of the attack. “The terrorists always attack the place with tourists or with lots of people. I was lucky maybe. Maybe it’s dangerous but I still like the city very much and I still appreciate the things in Paris.”
President Trump tweeted Friday: “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.”
Trump signed an executive order aÂ week ago restricting travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries. The nationality of theÂ attackerÂ Friday wasn’t immediately known.
One soldier sustainedÂ a minor scalp injury, the AP reported.Â Cadot said a second person who was âacting suspiciouslyâÂ was arrested, but did not appear to have any involvement inÂ the attack.
A photo obtained by Le Figaro showed aÂ man lying on the floor inside the mall surrounded by armed officers.
Hundreds ofÂ people who were inside the LouvreÂ stayed in special secureÂ rooms during the attack. They were later evacuated and the museum was closed. French authorities said it will reopen on Saturday.
France is on high alert after a series of terror attacks, including the Nov. 2015 assaultsÂ and a truck attack in Nice in July that killed more than 80 people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both those attacks.
Chang, the tourist, was onÂ a 3-day visit to Paris after a business trip to Germany. He said he thought about theÂ attacks while planning his stay,Â but the urge to visit the French capitalÂ was too strong.
“I finally decided to come anyway âÂ because it’s Paris,” he said. “I will come back again.”