Man attacks French soldier with knife near the Louvre. PM calls it 'terrorist in nature.'
A man tried to attack a French soldier with a knife Friday near the Louvre museum in Paris. The soldier shot and seriously injured the attacker, French media reported.
The man was armed with at least one machete and carrying two briefcases as he attempted to enter the museum’s shopping center. When he was refused entry to the shopping center, the man pulled out a knife and attacked the soldier, yelling “Allahu akbar,” AFP reported, meaning “God is great” in Arabic. The soldier responded by firing five rounds into the attacker’s stomach, France’s interior ministry tweeted.
Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s prime minister, said the knife attack was clearly “terrorist in nature.” No explosives were found in the man’s two suitcases, the interior ministry tweeted. The identity of the attacker is still unknown.
The soldier was slightly wounded in the scalp, and the attacker remained alive. The interior ministry also said a second person was arrested in connection to the attack.
Authorities called it a “serious public security incident” and evacuated the area. Officials at the Louvre, one of the main tourist attractions in France and the world’s most-visited museum, said the museum was closed and the visitors already inside were being kept there, according to the interior ministry.
Pierre-Henry Brandet, interior ministry spokesman, said about 1,000 people were inside the museum at the time, reported the Associated Press.
Friday’s incident was the latest in a string of attacks in France, several of which have been claimed by the Islamic State. Over the past two years, militant Islamist attacks have killed more than 230 people, Reuters reported.
In January 2015, gunmen killed cartoonists and journalists at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in retaliation for publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. On Nov. 13, 2015, gunmen and suicide bombers from the Islamic State attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium in Paris, killing 130 people.
According to the AFP, the Louvre has been suffering from a decline in visitor numbers after the recent attacks in the country. In 2016, 7.3 million people visited the museum, a 15 percent decline from the previous year. Uniformed soldiers carrying automatic rifles can regularly be seen walking in the area around the museum.
“This event reminds us that the threat is here and security is everyone’s concern,” Brandet said, according to a tweet from the interior ministry.
.@PHBrandet (porte-parole) : cet événement nous rappelle que la menace est présente et que la #sécurité est l’affaire de tous #Louvre pic.twitter.com/EDQXS5gp0Y
Derek Hawkins contributed reporting.
This article was written by Samantha Schmidt from The Washington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.