A machete-wielding man who cried out “Allahu Akbar” launched an attack on security forces in the area of the Louvre in the French capital, police said. The attacker, who was shot and wounded by a soldier, is now suspected of terrorist motives.
The attacker is believed to have acted alone. Two machetes have been found at the scene, according to AP.
Five shots were fired at the attacker. It is understood that he sustained injuries to his legs or in the abdomen; police say they are quite serious.
The attacker has not been identified yet.
The French Interior Ministry initially reported that was a “grave public security incident” in the vicinity of the Louvre museum. The area was then sealed off.
Visitors inside the world-famous museum learned of the attempted attack by loudspeaker announcement, Reuters reports. The guards directed people to sit tight together on one side of the building and away from windows, witnesses said, adding that there was no panic.
“Everything happened calmly,” Paul Lecher, a frequent Louvre visitor, told Reuters. “It was just a case of listening… People quickly understood, even those who didn’t understand a word of French, that something unusual was happening.”
— Pierre Lebret (@PierreLebret) February 3, 2017
The attacker tried to assault a four-man patrol of soldiers at the Carrousel du Louvre area on Friday. Early reports said he was wielding a knife and had a suitcase.
Images of the apparent attacker lying on the floor by a staircase inside the Louvre are circulating on social media. There appears to be a weapon on the floor beside him.
Later police said there was no suitcase, but two bags, and the man carrying them on his back tried to enter museum shopping area, but was refused.
Then the man tried to stab one of the soldiers with a machete, a police union official, Yves Lefebvre told AP.
The attacker also cried out “Allahu Akbar,” Michel Cadot, the head of the French capital’s police force, told reporters.