Assailant Shot Outside Louvre Museum After Knife Attack on Soldiers
The museum has closed after the alleged terrorist attack.
A security operation is currently unfolding outside the Louvre Museum in Paris, after a man attempted to launch a knife attack on soldiers patrolling the area.
France’s Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the incident appeared to be an “attack of terrorist nature,” the Guardian reports.
According to the Evening Standard, a man carrying a backpack attacked and wounded one soldier with a knife, while another soldier opened fire and shot the attacker five times in the stomach.
The incident took place around 10 a.m. local time on the stairway of the Carousel du Louvre, an underground shopping center by the famous museum, which received 8.6 million visitors in 2015.
The attacker was rushed to the Georges-Pompidou hospital, and is in an intensive care unit under armed guard. At the time of writing, he’s said to be in “serious condition,” according to a report by the ES.
Michel Cadot, the prefect of Paris police, told the Guardian that the man lunged towards soldiers with a machete, shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
“We are dealing with an attack from an individual who was clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat, and whose comments lead us to believe that he wished to carry out a terrorist incident,” said Cadot.
He added that no explosives were found in the attacker’s backpack.
Soldiers have been patrolling the area around the Louvre as part of the Opération Sentinelle, which was implemented across French landmarks after the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015.
A spokewoman for the Louvre told the Guardian that the museum was “closed for the moment.”
According to the ES, tourists inside the museum were told to stay on the ground and remained confined in secured areas, waiting to be evacuated after officials had secured the area.
artnet News hadn’t received a reply to a request for comment from the museum at the time of publishing.
This morning, the museum’s website displays a banner informing visitors that, “Due to a serious incident this Friday morning in the Carrousel du Louvre shopping area, the Musée du Louvre is closed until otherwise announced.”
Since the 2015 attacks, including the attack in November on the Bataclan music venue and across the city, which left 130 people dead, France has been on its highest state of alert.
The string of recent attacks have resulted in a drop in visitor numbers across cultural institutions in Paris.
In January, the Louvre reported a 15 percent drop in visitors last year, from welcoming 8.6 million visitors in 2015, to around 7.3 million in 2016, as well as an accompanying loss in profit of at least €9.7 million ($10.2 million).
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