More details have emerged about a 29-year-old Egyptian tourist suspected of assaulting soldiers at the Louvre museum in Paris with a machete as part of what is believed to be an attempted terror attack.
Police inquiries established the man, who was hospitalised after being shot in the abdomen, had arrived in France on January 26 after obtaining a one-month tourist visa in Dubai.
Security sources in Cairo identified the man as Abdullah Reda al-Hamamy, who was born in Dakahlia, a province north-east of Cairo, but is believed to have been living in the United Arab Emirates.
He was apparently “unknown to authorities”.
An Egyptian interior ministry official said the initial investigation found no record of political activism, criminal activity or membership of any militant groups at home.
On the Twitter account of an “Abdallah El-Hamahmy” tweets about a trip from Dubai to Paris were posted on January 26. In the profile photo, Hamahmy is seen smiling and leaning calmly against a wall in a blue and white sports jacket.
In another tweet on the account written in Arabic, Hamahmy went on an angry tirade ahead of the Louvre attack, posting: “No negotiation, no compromise, no letting up, certainly no climb down, relentless war.”
In an interview with the Dubai-based news channel al-Hadath aired Saturday, Hamahmy’s father, Reda Refae al-Hamahmy, said he was shocked to learn of his son’s alleged involvement in the Louvre incident.
French soldiers opened fire on and wounded the man, who they had stopped when he tried to enter the Louvre carrying two bags at about 10am on Friday.
The attacker removed a machete from one of the bags and launched himself at the four soldiers when they told him he could not take his bags into the Carrousel du Louvre shopping mall near the world-famous art gallery.
One of the soldiers sustained injuries to his scalp.
The head of the French capital’s police force, Michel Cadot, said the man cried out “Allahu Akbar” (”God is greatest” in Arabic) while brandishing the weapon.
— Stéphane Kovacs (@KovacsSt) February 3, 2017
French President Francois Hollande said it was clear the attack was of a terrorist nature.
Police searched an apartment the man had rented in Paris and were working to establish whether he acted alone, on impulse, or on orders from someone.
Spray paint cans — but no explosives — were found in his backpack, a source told Reuters.
Police also conducted raids at several unnamed addresses across the city following the Louvre attack.
The suspect remains in hospital and is “fighting for his life” under police guard. President Hollande said he would be questioned “when it is possible to do so”.
– with ABC