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Louvre attack 'clearly terrorist in nature', says French PM


Louvre attack 'clearly terrorist in nature', says French PM

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says a machete attack near the capital’s Louvre Museum was “clearly terrorist in nature.”

Anti-terror police have launched an investigation into the incident.

The head of Paris police, Michel Cadot said the assailant was “clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat.”

The man, whose identity and nationality are as yet unknown, slightly wounded a soldier on security duty in the Carrousel shopping centre under the museum, near one of its entrances. Soldiers responded with five shots, seriously wounding the attacker.

A second person was detained due to suspicious behaviour, although the two are not thought to be linked.

Police believe the attacker acted alone.

“An assailant armed with a machete at the very least, but perhaps with a second weapon, who was carrying two backpacks, approached the police officers and soldiers in charge of security and threatened them. Notably he shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’,” Cadot told reporters.

Later reports suggested two machetes were found on the suspect.

According to the police chief, no explosives were found in the suspect’s bags.

The museum and its surroundings were evacuated shortly after the attack, although visitors inside were initially prevented from leaving.

France is under a state of emergency following a spate of terror attacks in which more than 230 people have been killed. In December, 2016, parliament voted to extend the measure to July 2017.

Presidential elections are due to be held in April and May. Security and fears of terrorism are among the key issues on which contenders are focussing.