Lou­vre at­tack sus­pect silent dur­ing ini­tial ques­tion­ing

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD - BY THOMAS ADAM­SON AND AHMED HATEM THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An Egyp­tian man sus­pected of charg­ing sol­diers at Paris’ Lou­vre mu­seum with a ma­chete was ques­tioned by French in­ves­ti­ga­tors Sun­day for the first time since the at­tack.

The Paris pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice said the sus­pect, who al­legedly shouted “Al­lahu ak­bar!’’ while rush­ing to­ward the sol­diers and was shot four times af­ter slightly in­jur­ing one, re­mained silent dur­ing the in­ter­view and will re­main in cus­tody.

The Lou­vre was closed im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the Fri­day at­tack, but re­opened for the week­end.

French au­thor­i­ties so far have not named the sus­pect, but con­firmed they thought he was Egyp­tian.

They are be­ing more cau­tious than their Egyp­tian coun­ter­parts, who have iden­ti­fied the at­tacker as 28-year-old Ab­dul­lah Reda Re­faie al-Hamahmy.

Hamahmy’s fa­ther spoke out Satur­day to say that his son is not a ter­ror­ist but a fam­ily man who led a nor­mal life with his wife and in­fant son.

Reda Re­faie al-Hamahmy told The As­so­ci­ated Press late Satur­day that he trusts the French ju­di­ciary to find out the truth be­hind his Ab­dul­lah’s al­leged in­volve­ment in the at­tack.

“If he is con­victed, God be with us. But if he is in­no­cent, they owe us an apol­ogy,” the fa­ther said at the fam­ily home in the Nile Delta city of Man­soura.

“He is a very re­spectable man who never had a prob­lem with any­body, he never had any sort of po­lit­i­cal views,” he said.

“His main con­cern in his life was his work in the United Arab Emi­rates,” he said, adding his son had gone to France on a “work as­sign­ment.”

Ab­dul­lah has lived in Dubai for the past five years, em­ployed by what his fa­ther said was a law firm.

The Paris pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice says the at­tacker was shot af­ter lightly wound­ing a sol­dier pa­trolling an un­der­ground mall near the fa­mous Paris mu­seum, but that the in­juries are no longer life-threat­en­ing.

Ibrahim Youssry, a close friend of Ab­dul­lah al-Hamahmy, said his be­hav­iour on the day of the at­tack did not be­tray any in­ten­tion to com­mit an act of vi­o­lence.

“Be­fore the at­tack, he com­mented on one of our friends’ pic­tures on In­sta­gram and liked some (other) pic­tures. He also called his fa­ther and asked him what to bring for him from France. All this con­tra­dicts the French story,” said Youssry.

Two Egyp­tian of­fi­cials said Sun­day that lo­cal se­cu­rity agen­cies were con­tin­u­ing to gather in­for­ma­tion on Ab­dul­lah alHamahmy to help es­tab­lish if he was a mem­ber of any mil­i­tant groups or had been rad­i­cal­ized.

“We are try­ing to de­ter­mine whether he was a lone wolf, worked with a group or he is in­no­cent,” said one of the two of­fi­cials, who is em­ployed by the In­te­rior Min­istry.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were ex­am­in­ing his so­cial me­dia accounts, he added.

“His tweets show a rad­i­cal­ized per­son. He sup­ports the Daesh and other ex­trem­ists in Syria,” said the of­fi­cial, us­ing the Ara­bic acro­nym for the Is­lamic State group.

One re­cent tweet by Ab­dul­lah al-Hamahmy de­fended the Is­lamic State.

“Why are they sa­cred of the Is­lamic State? Be­cause the Is­lamic State de­fends its re­sources, ter­ri­tory, the hon­our and dig­nity of Mus­lims,” he wrote.

The in­for­ma­tion gath­ered on Ab­dul­lah al-Hamahmy will be shared with French au­thor­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the sec­ond of­fi­cial, who is with the For­eign Min­istry. Both of­fi­cials spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to brief the me­dia.

“If he is con­victed, God be with us. But if he is in­no­cent, they owe us an apol­ogy.” Reda Re­faie al-Hamahmy

AP PHOTO

In this still im­age made from video pro­vided by the Dubai-based news chan­nel al-Ha­dath, Reda Re­fae al-Hamahmy, the fa­ther of the al­leged Lou­vre at­tacker Ab­dul­lah Reda Re­faie al-Hamahmy, left, gives an in­ter­view.

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