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Paris’ Louvre Reopens 24 Hours after Terrorist Attack | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French police officers and soldiers patrol in front of the Louvre museum on February 3, 2017 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD

Art lovers returned to the Louvre in Paris on Saturday, a day after a soldier shot a machete-wielding attacker at the museum, believed to be an Egyptian who entered the country a week ago.

The incident on Friday thrust security and the terror threat back into the limelight, with authorities saying it was a “terrorist” assault.

At the Louvre on Saturday, a crowd had formed at the main entrance as the doors re-opened to the first visitors of the day on schedule at 09:30 am.

Soldiers in uniform with machine guns could be seen patrolling as usual, with routine bag checks also undertaken by Louvre security staff.

French investigators say Friday’s attacker, armed with two machetes, lunged at four patrolling French soldiers.

They are examining the Twitter account of an Egyptian man named Abdallah El Hamahmy after around a dozen messages were posted in Arabic between 9:27-9:34 am, just minutes prior to the attack.

One of the troops was “lightly injured” in the attack after being struck on the head in a public area that leads to one of the museum’s entrance.

A second soldier opened fire five times and hit the machete-wielder in the stomach.

“The attacker fell to the ground, seriously wounded,” Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told a press conference late Friday.

His condition stabilized overnight in a Parisian hospital, a source close to the case told AFP.

Based on his phone and visa records, he is thought to be a 29-year-old Egyptian national who is resident in the United Arab Emirates.

Investigators have established he entered France legally on a flight from Dubai on January 26 and had rented an expensive apartment near the Champs Elysee, sources close to the case told AFP.

The government of the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, condemned the “hateful crime” and assured France of its “full solidarity”.

President Francois Hollande said that “there is little doubt as to the terrorist nature of this act,” an assessment echoed by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

France was already reeling from a string of terror attacks over the last two years and the country has been under a state of emergency since November 2015.

U.S. 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.”