Soldier shoots man wielding machete outside Louvre in Paris

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PARIS, France (WDTN) — Police say a soldier shot a man wielding a machete outside the Louvre in Paris.

The attack happened on Friday. Police say the attacker shouted “Allahu akhbar” or “God is great” in Arabic, before launching himself at soldiers and police.

One soldier shot the attacker five times, including once in the stomach. Police say the suspect is gravely wounded.

A spokesman for the military force that patrols key sites in Paris says a four-man patrol of soldiers attacked at the Louvre tried to fight off an assailant before they opened fire.

Spokesman Benoit Brulon says a soldier who was slightly injured by the attacker was not the solider who opened fire. Police say the man attacked soldiers after he was refused entry to a shopping complex under the museum with his bags. Officials found two machetes.

The Paris police chief Michel Cadot says the suspect was carrying two backpacks. Neither had explosives.

Officials say about 1,000 people were inside the actual museum and were held inside in safe areas.

Staff members began returning to the shopping mall beneath the Louvre Museum just hours after the attack. Roadblocks were cleared as well, allowing tourists to leave the museum.

Hundreds of tourists had remained inside the museum during the incident, and some were brought into special safe rooms, according to a witness.

Conor Bakhuizen, 18, is in Paris on a school trip. In a Twitter exchange with The Associated Press, he said he “was in the foyer and suddenly rushed into another room in the museum.”

He said the mood was “very tense at first but everyone was vigilant and now” everyone is in a good mood.

The French interior ministry says anti-terrorism prosecutors are investigating the attack. No details about the identity of the attacker have been released yet.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet says a second person also was arrested but it is unclear whether that person was linked to the attack.

The museum in the center of Paris is one of the French capital’s biggest tourist attractions.

Soldiers on patrol are part of security measures that have beefed-up in the wake of terror attacks in France in 2015 and 2016.

Some 3,500 soldiers patrol key sites as part of beefed-up security measures in Paris.

The attack took place only hours before leaders of Paris’ bid for the 2024 Olympics unveil their final candidate files.

French officials have repeatedly dismissed security concerns over the bid despite the wave of attacks that have left more than 200 people dead in the country over the past two years.

The attack will raise more questions before Friday’s ceremony near the Eiffel Tower, although bid officials claim the French capital has the experience needed to organize and protect major events if it gets the 2024 Games.

Speaking outside the Louvre, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who will attend the ceremony alongside athletes and other bid leaders, said all big cities in the world are under threat. She said that “there is not a single one escaping that menace.”

Paris, which hasn’t hosted the Olympics since 1924, is competing against Budapest and Los Angeles. The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city in September.

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