French sol­dier shoots, wounds ma­chete-wield­ing at­tacker at Paris Lou­vre

Global Times - Weekend - - WORLD -

A French sol­dier pa­trolling at the Lou­vre mu­seum shot and se­ri­ously in­jured a ma­chetewield­ing at­tacker on Fri­day, thrust­ing se­cu­rity and the ter­ror threat back into the lime­light three months be­fore elec­tions.

Po­lice held hun­dreds of tourists in se­cure ar­eas of the renowned tourist at­trac­tion af­ter the as­sailant was shot five times around 10:00 am in a pub­lic area near one of the mu­seum’s en­trances.

The knife­man, who yelled “Al­lahu Ak­bar” (“God is great- est”), is in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion. One sol­dier re­ceived a “mi­nor” head wound and has been taken to hos­pi­tal, se­cu­rity forces said.

Prime Min­is­ter Bernard Cazeneuve said the in­ci­dent, which will heap more mis­ery on the city’s strug­gling tourism sec­tor, was “ter­ror­ist in na­ture.”

It sparked fresh jit­ters and anger in a coun­try still reel­ing from a string of ter­ror at­tacks over the last two years and un­der a state of emer­gency since Novem­ber 2015.

The econ­omy, im­mi­gra­tion and se­cu­rity are ma­jor is­sues for vot­ers ahead of pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions which had been fore­cast to con­firm the coun­try’s shift right af­ter five years of So­cial­ist rule.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted that a “new rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ist has just at­tacked in Lou­vre Mu­seum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART US.”

Wit­nesses de­scribed scenes of panic as shop­pers, sight- seers and work­ers fled the Lou­vre com­plex fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent.

The lu­cra­tive Paris tourism in­dus­try has been a ma­jor ca­su­alty of the ter­ror at­tacks, with vis­i­tors can­cel­ing or short­en­ing their stays.

Thou­sands of troops have been de­ployed to guard the cap­i­tal, with groups of sol­diers car­ry­ing au­to­matic ri­fles a reg­u­lar sight in­side the Lou­vre and around its sculp­ture-filled gar­dens. The Lou­vre was al­ready suf­fer­ing from a fall in vis­i­tor num­bers af­ter the se­ries of at­tacks in France.

City po­lice chief Michel Cadot told re­porters that a man whose be­hav­ior was “sus­pi­cious” had also been ar­rested fol­low­ing the at­tack.

Fri­day’s in­ci­dent came on the very day that Paris was sub­mit­ting its for­mal bid dossier to host the 2024 Sum­mer Olympic Games.

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