Louvre machete attack
|Louvre machete attack|
|Date||3 February 2017|
|2 (including the attacker)|
|Perpetrator||Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy|
On 3 February 2017, an Egyptian national in France on a tourist visa was shot as he rushed a group of French soldiers guarding a principal entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, attacking and injuring one soldier with a machete. The soldiers were patrolling the museum as part of Opération Sentinelle, guarding the Carrousel du Louvre, in which an underground shopping mall also serves as a gift shop, ticket sales office, and public entrance to the Museum.
The attacker, identified as Abdullah al-Hamahmy, was confirmed by French authorities to have shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack, and although not having direct links, to have sympathised with and posted numerous messages on Twitter in support of the Islamic State, including calling for people to "fight in the cause of Allah and kill."
The suspect, who was carrying two bags containing spray paint and two machetes, is alleged to have attacked and injured a soldier with a machete who was guarding the museum, shouting "Allahu Akbar". Another soldier on security patrol fired five shots at him, injuring him in the stomach. He was arrested and taken for medical treatment.
Immediately after his arrest, the suspect told authorities that he was carrying spray paint in order to deface the museum's artwork, an act that he regarded as a "symbolic" attack on France.
French authorities say that no group has claimed the attempted attack and no link to extremism was found during a search of the apartment. The suspect posted on his Twitter account in Arabic in the minutes before the failed attack in which he referred once to ISIL and also wrote, "In the name of Allah... for our brothers in Syria and fighters across the world".
The Egyptian Interior Ministry has identified the attacker as 29-year old Egyptian national Abdullah Reda al-Hamamy, an identity confirmed by the suspect, who had entered France on a one-month tourist visa issued in Dubai on 26 January. The French Public Minister, François Molins, confirmed the perpetrator was identified after a Visabio search. The suspect refused to speak in the first interview with investigators after being placed in detention at a hospital, but confirmed his identity in a subsequent interview. The suspect's father denied allegations of his son being a terrorist. However, investigators examining his social media accounts state that he has "sympathy for the ideas of ISIS".
Paris Match called the suspect "the tourist terrorist," and described an upwardly mobile professional, from a wealthy family, graduate of a prestigious university, with a seven-month-old son and a pregnant wife, staying in Paris for ten days at a prestigious address near the Champs-Elysées, sending home artsy selfies with Paris landmarks from his iPhone 7. Nonetheless, the magazine disclosed that the suspect was carrying "bombs of aerosol paint" intended to "disfigure the masterpieces of the [Louvre] museum".
French President François Hollande "said there was 'no doubt' the attack was terrorist in nature". The attack heightened anxieties in a city already reeling from a spate of recent attacks, including the November 2015 Paris attacks. The city continues to increase security against terrorist attacks at major tourist attractions.
The attack exacerbated fears of further decline in tourism because approximately 70% of visitors to the Louvre are foreign nationals and attendance fell by 16% in 2001, due to the September 11 attacks in the US; were off 7.5% in 2015 after the November 2015 Paris attacks and fell a further 15% in 2016, in the wake of the Bastille Day attack. The attack was being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.
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Investigators found bombs of aerosol paint in his bag. No doubt to blot out the masterpieces of the museum.
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Molins said the attacker was not carrying an ID but a photo registered in Visabio (a European biometric database including digital photography and fingerprints of visa applicants) was the same of the machete-wielding man.
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The Paris prosecutor, Francois Molins, said during a press conference in the evening that his life prognosis was "very probable". [...] The man did not carry papers and his identity was not formally established. But the exploitation of a cell phone found in his backpack and research on the Visabio file, during the French translation of a European database, "targeted an individual of 29 years of Egyptian nationality" residing at the United Arab Emirates, said the magistrate.
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From an EU summit in Malta, French President Francois Hollande said there was "no doubt" the attack was terrorist in nature.
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President Trump wrote on Twitter that the man was a "radical Islamic terrorist,"
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