Louvre attacker believed to be a 29-year-old Egyptian

Mobile phone data suggests man who tried to attack Paris museum entered France on a tourist visa on January 26.

French investigators believe the man who launched a machete attack in Paris, before being shot and wounded by a soldier, is a 29-year-old Egyptian who entered the country on a tourist visa.

Francois Molins, the chief prosecutor of Paris, told a press conference on Friday that the man who carried out the attack near the entrance of the Louvre museum had no identity papers on him when he was arrested.

However, mobile phone data suggested that he had arrived in Paris on January 26 after acquiring a one-month tourist visa from the French embassy in Dubai.

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The assailant was shot five times and seriously wounded. A soldier suffered slight head injuries in the incident.

Authorities have not “officially” identified the suspect, Molins said, adding that the attack is being treated as an “act of terror”.

Investigators are working to establish whether he acted alone, on impulse, or on orders from someone.

Law enforcement conducted a search in an apartment the man had rented in the city’s central 8th arrondissement, seizing an iPad, several pre-paid cards, and €900 ($970) in cash.

The attacker bought the two machetes he used in the attack from a store in Paris on January 28, Molins said.

‘No explosives found’

Police said earlier that the man had been trying to get into the museum’s underground shop with a suitcase. His bag contained no explosives. 

The Louvre, the huge former royal palace in the heart of the city, is home to the Mona Lisa and other famous works of art but is also a shopping complex and houses numerous exhibition spaces.

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It is one of the top tourist attractions in Paris, which was the world’s third most visited city in 2016, according to the Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index.

France has suffered a string of attacks.

In January 2015, gunmen killed cartoonists and journalists at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris, while another attacker went on to kill shoppers in a Jewish supermarket, bringing the number of people killed to 17 in three days of bloodshed.

Ten months later, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium in Paris on November 13, killing 130 people in an attack blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Last July, a Tunisian man rammed a lorry through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice on France’s south coast, crushing 86 people to death.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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