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Machete Attacker Shot and Wounded at Louvre in Paris | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A police officer directs the traffic outside the Louvre museum in Paris, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A machete-wielding man was shot and injured as he attacked security forces in a shopping mall beneath the Louvre museum in Paris on Friday, police said.

One soldier was injured in the assault by the knifeman who was shot five times and is alive despite his serious injuries.

Two backpacks he was carrying did not contain explosives, city police chief Michel Cadot said.

Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the attack “terrorist in nature” after the incident which led streets around the world-famous museum to be sealed off.

An anti-terrorism inquiry has been opened, the public prosecutor said in a statement.

A French interior ministry spokesman said the identity and nationality of the suspect were not yet known.

Soldiers in uniform carrying automatic rifles are regularly seen walking in the area around the Louvre, which is one of the main tourist attractions in Paris, drawing millions of visitors every year.

“The people who were in the museum — there were about 250 of them — were held at a distance and confined in secure areas of the Louvre,” Cadot said.

“We will start taking them out in small groups.”

France has suffered a string of attacks, some claimed by ISIS, in recent years.

The most recent deadly attack took place in the southern city of Nice when a man drove a truck into a crowd on the seafront killing 86.

The Louvre was already suffering from a fall in visitor numbers after the attacks.
Over the last two years, numbers are down about two million, casting doubt on its claim to be the most visited museum in the world.

Last year, there was a 15-percent slump in visitors compared to 2015, to around 7.3 million.