- The Washington Times - Friday, February 3, 2017

UPDATED TEXT:

The Louvre Museum in Paris reopened to the public on Saturday. The Associated Press confirmed with an Egyptian Interior Ministry official Saturday that the machete-wielding suspect was a 28-year-old Egyptian-born man named Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy.

ORIGINAL TEXT:

A French soldier shot a machete-wielding attacker who shouted “Allahu Akbar” Friday outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, multiple media reports said.

The Telegraph reported that the soldier wounded the man who had been trying to get into the Carrousel du Louvre, the museum’s underground shopping area, with two backpacks.

A second person also was arrested, but police don’t think he was linked to the attack, The Associated Press reported.

President Francois Hollande offered praise for the troops’ “courage and determination,” and said the suspect who is hospitalized will be questioned “when it is possible to do so,” AP said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said about 1,000 people were inside the actual museum, home to the famous “Mona Lisa” painting and “Venus de Milo” statute, and were held inside in safe areas, according to the AP report.

Restaurant worker Sanae Hadraoui, 32, told the AP that she was waiting for breakfast at a McDonald’s in the Louvre’s restaurant complex when she heard the gunshots.

“I hear a shot. Then a second shot. Then maybe two more. I hear people screaming, ‘Evacuate! Evacuate!’” she said, AP reported. “They told us to evacuate. I told my colleagues at the McDonald’s. We went downstairs and then took the emergency exit.”

Police have not released the name of the soldier or the suspect.

The suspect is believed to be a 29-year-old Egyptian who had been living in the United Arab Emirates, but his identity hasn’t been confirmed, French magistrate Francois Molins said in a press conference on Friday.

Police raids were being conducted around the city.

“Defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the soldier who has been slightly injured in the attack is ‘doing well’ and will rejoin his regiment in the evening,” the AP report said.

Although initial reports from Europe said the man had a knife, The Independent and other papers later said the suspect was carrying a machete, yelled “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic) and hit a soldier in the scalp before another soldier fired five shots, wounding the suspect in the stomach.

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

Police union officials told the Independent that the suspect had a second machete.

No explosives were found, but the Paris public prosecutor’s office said the incident was being investigated as an “attempted assassination connected with a terrorist enterprise and association with terrorist criminals,” The Independent reported.

CNN affiliate BFM-TV said local Metro stations were closed.

The museum will reopen at 10 a.m. on Saturday, according to its website.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning, “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.”

France has been on alert footing after multiple terror attacks in 2015 and 2016 that have targeted Paris, Normandy and Nice.

The country will face its next presidential elections in a few months.

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