A man with a machete attacked French soldiers Friday morning while they were on patrol outside the famous Louvre museum in Paris. According to eyewitness reports, the man shouted “Allahu Akbar.” French Prime Minister François Hollande has called the act “terrorist in nature.”
The suspect reportedly attacked the soldiers at an entrance to the shopping mall connected to the museum, and the soldiers first tried to subdue him using non-lethal force before opening fire. The suspect was shot in the abdomen and is seriously injured, according to BBC. CBS news also confirmed that the attacker was heard to shout “Allahu Akbar” during his attack.
French authorities said the suspect was carrying two backpacks and two machetes, and began his attack after the soldiers told him he couldn’t carry his backpacks into the shopping mall. “That’s when he got the knife out and that’s when he tried to stab the soldier,” said Yves Lefebvre, a French police official.
The Louvre was on lockdown as four soldiers tried to fight off the suspect before firing five shots at the assailant. One soldier sustained a slight head injury but is expected to recover. The suspect was taken to the hospital after being shot in the stomach, but Police Chief Michael Cadot told reporters he was still conscious and moving. He also said another person who was “acting suspiciously” was arrested at the time but did not appear to be involved.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters that about 1,000 people were inside the Lourve museum at the time and were safe in lockdown until the all-clear was given and they were evacuated in an orderly fashion after security checks.
Authorities searched the backpacks but no explosives were found.