Louvre reopens 24 hours after machete attack

2017-02-04 13:37
Police officers patrol inside the Louvre after a shooting outside at the museum in Paris. (Christophe Ena, AP)

Police officers patrol inside the Louvre after a shooting outside at the museum in Paris. (Christophe Ena, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Art lovers returned to the Louvre in Paris on Saturday, 24 hours after a soldier shot a machete-wielding attacker at the museum, believed to be an Egyptian who entered the country a week ago.

The incident on Friday thrust security and the terror threat back into the limelight three months before elections in France, with authorities saying it was a "terrorist" assault.

It also risked dealing another blow to Paris' lucrative tourism industry which has been badly affected by a string of attacks since 2015.

At the Louvre on Saturday, a crowd had formed at the main entrance as the doors re-opened to the first visitors of the day on schedule at 09:30 (08:30 GMT).

"I'm quite worried about coming today, but as we weren't able to visit yesterday we decided to come back anyway," 28-year-old Russian visitor Elena Lordugen told AFP.

Soldiers in uniform with machine guns could be seen patrolling as usual, with routine bag checks also undertaken by Louvre security staff.

Ali Tali, a Turkish tourist in his 40s, shrugged off their presence. "We're used these security measures in Turkey," he said.

Terror link

French investigators say Friday's attacker, in a black T-shirt bearing a skull design and armed with two machetes, lunged at four patrolling French soldiers while shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest").

They are examining the Twitter account of an Egyptian man named Abdallah El Hamahmy after around a dozen messages were posted in Arabic between 09:27 and 09:34, just minutes prior to the attack.

"In the name of Allah... for our brothers in Syria and fighters across the world," El Hamahmy wrote, before making reference to the Islamic State jihadist group in another tweet a minute later.

One of the troops was "lightly injured" in the attack after being struck on the head in a public area that leads to one of the museum's entrance.

A second soldier opened fire five times and hit the machete-wielder in the stomach.

"The attacker fell to the ground, seriously wounded," Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a press conference late on Friday.

His condition stabilised overnight in a Parisian hospital, a source close to the case told AFP.

Based on his phone and visa records, he is thought to be a 29-year-old Egyptian national who is resident in the United Arab Emirates.

Investigators have established he entered France legally on a flight from Dubai on January 26 and had rented an expensive apartment near the Champs Elysee, sources close to the case told AFP.

'Panic'

The government of the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, condemned the "hateful crime" and assured France of its "full solidarity".

President Francois Hollande said that "there is little doubt as to the terrorist nature of this act", an assessment echoed by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

France was already reeling from a string of terror attacks over the last two years and the country has been under a state of emergency since November 2015.

The economy, immigration and security are major issues for voters ahead of this year's presidential and parliamentary elections forecast to confirm the country's shift to the right after five years of Socialist rule.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that a "new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART US."

Witnesses described scenes of panic as people fled the Louvre complex following the incident.

"We heard gunshots. We didn't know what it was about. Then we evacuated the employees and we left," one man who works in a nearby restaurant told AFP.

The Louvre, a former palace in the heart of the city, has seen annual visitor numbers fall by about two million since 2015 to 7.3 million.

The series of terror attacks in France began in January 2015 when jihadist gunmen rampaged through the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, leaving 17 people dead in three days of bloodshed.

Ten months later, gunmen and suicide bombers from the Islamic State jihadist group attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium in Paris, killing 130 people.

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

Read more on:    france  |  security

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.