Long queues in Paris as tourists flock back to the Louvre

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Long queues in Paris as tourists flock back to the Louvre

The iconic Louvre Museum in Paris re-opened its doors on Saturday, a day after a French soldier was wounded while tackling a machete-wielding attacker.

There were long queues outside the museum’s famous pyramid entrance.

There is a heavy security presence.

Police and soldiers from Operation Sentinelle patrolled the Louvre grounds on Saturday.

What tourists are saying

“I don’t feel frightened at all. I feel good. It is a bit unusual to see so many heavily-armed police, but I am not bothered. In Barcelona, we also have police armed like this, to keep watch over tourist sites as well,” said Spanish fine art student, Marta Montilla.

“I am kind of an unlucky guy, because I have been to Notre Dame two days ago, but I could not get inside either because there was some suspicious package right outside of it,” said South Korean tourist Doo-hee Kim.

What happened on Friday?

Shouting Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), the 29-year-old Egyptian national struck one soldier and knocked another to the ground near the entrance to the museum on Friday.

He was shot in the abdomen.

President Francois Hollande has described it as a “terrorist attack”.

Speaking at a meeting of EU leaders in Malta, Hollande said “This operation undoubtedly prevented an attack whose terrorist nature leaves little doubt.”

What do we know about the alleged attacker?

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters the following details:

  • Man identified as Abdullah Reda al-Hamamy by security sources in Cairo
  • Born Dakahlia, northeast of Cairo
  • Arrived in France on January 26
  • Wearing a black T-shirt with “death head” emblem
  • Paint spray cans found in his rucksack
  • No explosives found
  • Rented apartment searched in Paris
  • Officers trying to establish if he acted alone

    Were there people inside the Louvre at the time?


    More than a thousand visitors, including many young children, were kept inside for an hour.

    They were allowed out when the emergency was over.

    The museum remained closed for the rest of Friday.

    It re-opened Saturday morning, with long queues outside the iconic pyramid entrance.

    Paris – a slow recovery

    The French capital has been gradually recovering from a dip in foreign tourism caused by a series of bomb and shooting attacks in November, 2015.

    A total of 130 people were killed in Paris during the attacks in November, 2015.

    86 died in Nice last July, when a Tunisian national deliberately drove a lorry into the crowds on the seafront celebrating Bastille Day.

    France is less than three months away from a presidential election in which security and fears of terrorism are among key issues.

    Paris also submitted its official bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games on Friday with a launch show at the Eiffel Tower.