Eif­fel Tower po­lice stop man with knife

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

PARIS — A young French man who re­cently was dis­charged from a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for an at­tempted ter­ror­ist at­tack after he bran­dished a knife and tried to breach se­cu­rity at the Eif­fel Tower, author­i­ties said Sun­day.

No one was hurt in the in­ci­dent late Satur­day, though the tower was briefly evac­u­ated, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the com­pany that man­ages the mon­u­ment. The tower re­opened Sun­day morn­ing.

It is the lat­est of sev­eral at­tempted at­tacks on se­cu­rity forces guard­ing prom­i­nent sites in France as part of height­ened pro­tec­tive mea­sures prompted by deadly at­tacks since 2015. Mon­u­ments in the French cap­i­tal are oc­ca­sion­ally evac­u­ated for se­cu­rity rea­sons as part of those mea­sures.

In Satur­day’s in­ci­dent, the sus­pect tried to force his way into the se­cure zone be­neath the tower, held out a knife and said “Al­lahu ak­bar,” the Ara­bic phrase for “God is great,” an of­fi­cial close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said. He quickly was sur­rounded by se­cu­rity forces and sur­ren­dered, the of­fi­cial said. A Paris po­lice of­fi­cial said no shots were fired. Both of­fi­cials weren’t au­tho­rized to be publicly named.

The sus­pect later told po­lice that he had wanted to at­tack a sol­dier and had been in touch with a mem­ber of the Is­lamic State group who en­cour­aged him to do so, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The of­fi­cial said the claim prompted in­ves­ti­ga­tors to up­grade the se­ri­ous­ness of the offense, which orig­i­nally they clas­si­fied as a com­mon crime by some­one with a his­tory of psy­chi­atric prob­lems.

The man is now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for in­volve­ment in a ter­ror­ist en­ter­prise and an at­tempted ter­ror­ism-re­lated at­tack on se­cu­rity forces.

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