France: Louvre attack suspect '29-year-old Egyptian'

Suspected arrived in Paris from Dubai on tourist visa Jan. 26, says Paris chief prosecutor

France: Louvre attack suspect '29-year-old Egyptian'

World Bulletin / News Desk

The suspect who allegedly carried out a knife attack on Friday against soldiers at the entrance of a shopping mall linked to Paris’ Louvre Museum is believed to be a 29-year-old Egyptian national, according to Paris chief Prosecutor Francois Molins.

Molins told a press conference Friday the man had no identity papers on him when he was arrested after being shot down by the soldiers, but mobile phone data showed he had arrived in Paris on Jan. 26 after acquiring a one-month tourist visa from the French embassy in Dubai.

Authorities have not "officially" identified the suspect, Molins said, adding that the attack is being treated as an “act of terror”.

The Paris public prosecutor's anti-terrorist section has launched a probe as investigators are working to establish whether he acted alone, on impulse, or on orders from someone.

Law enforcement conducted a search on an apartment the man had rented in the city's central 8th arrondissement, seizing an iPad, several pre-paid cards, and €900 in cash.

He bought the two machetes he used in the attack from a store in the eastern 12th arrondissement on Jan. 28, Molins said.

Armed with the machetes, the attacker approached four soldiers patrolling on a stairway in the Carrousel du Louvre -- an underground shopping mall beneath the Louvre -- just before 10 a.m. local time (0900 GMT), according to Molins.

The man was wearing a black T-shirt with a death’s head emblem, and he shouted “Allahu Akbar”, wielding a machete in each hand as the soldiers tried to check his two backpacks.

He struck one soldier and knocked another one to the ground. When he continued his attacks the soldier on the ground shot him in the abdomen, Molins said.

"The attacker fell to the ground, seriously wounded. He has been taken to hospital and is fighting for his life.”

The head of Paris’s police, Michel Cadot, told reporters earlier the soldier -- who himself was slightly injured -- fired five shots.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said a second person, a woman, had been arrested at the scene. However, any role she might have played was still unclear.

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described the incident as a “terror attack”.

A statement from the French president’s office called the attack “savage aggression”. It said the state would “act relentlessly to defend the security of our compatriots and to fight terror".

The four soldiers targeted in the incident were a part of "Operation Sentinelle" – a nationwide security operation aimed at “protecting against and dissuading” attacks on French soil.

France has been on high alert with enhanced security measures in the wake of deadly terror attacks over the last two years.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Şubat 2017, 09:23