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Attacker with machete shot by soldiers at Louvre museum

Visitors to the museum were locked in and surrounding roads closed after the incident, which authorities said was "terrorist in nature".
Police officers stand guard at the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum, near where soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a machete  on February 3, 2017. Ian Langsdon / EPA
Police officers stand guard at the Pyramid of the Louvre Museum, near where soldiers shot a man who attacked them with a machete on February 3, 2017. Ian Langsdon / EPA

Paris // A man who yelled “Allahu Akbar” was shot and injured as he attacked security forces with a machete at the Louvre museum in Paris on Friday.

One soldier was injured by the attacker, who was shot five times.

“He is wounded in the stomach,” said Paris police chief Michel Cadot. “He is conscious and he was moving.”

Two backpacks he was carrying did not contain explosives, Mr Cadot said.

Details about the identity of the attacker were not immediately available.

Prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the attack “terrorist in nature”.

Streets around the world-famous museum were sealed off for some hours after the incident.

The shooting comes with France on its highest state of alert, with thousands of troops patrolling the capital following a string of attacks in the past two years.

Soldiers carrying automatic rifles regularly patrol the area around the Louvre, which draws millions of visitors every year.

The huge former royal palace in the heart of the French capital is home to the Mona Lisa and other renowned works of art but also has a shopping complex and numerous exhibition spaces.

“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,” Mr Cadot said.

The incident came on the same day Paris was submitting its formal bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

France has suffered a string of attacks since January 2015, when extremist gunmen killed journalists at the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper in Paris in revenge for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Another attacker went on to kill shoppers in a Jewish supermarket, with a total of 17 people dead in three days of bloodshed.

Ten months later, gunmen and suicide bombers from the ISIL attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium in Paris on November 13, 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.

In November, French police broke up an alleged extremist ring which was thought to be planning to attack Paris.

The Louvre was already suffering from a fall in visitor numbers after the attacks in France.

Over the past two years, numbers are down by about two million. Last year, there was a 15 per cent slump in visitors compared to 2015, to around 7.3 million.

* Agence France-Presse

Updated: February 3, 2017 04:00 AM

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