(Article by By Dave Burke For and Peter Allen from Dailymail.co.uk)
A terror probe has been launched in Paris after a machete-wielding man was shot after trying to attack four soldiers outside the Louvre.
The suspect was shot five times in the stomach and is in a critical condition.
He was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ – Arabic for ‘God is the greatest’ – according to the Paris prefect.
After being refused entry, he pulled out the weapon and was shot by a soldier, officials have confirmed. A soldier is believed to have suffered a head injury.
US President Donald Trump tweeted following the attack in the French capital: ‘A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.’
A second man was arrested after ‘acting suspiciously’ close to the scene, but it is not known if he is linked to the attack.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has described the attack as ‘terrorist in nature’.
Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the the identity and nationality of the suspect are not yet known. Interior minister Bruno Le Roux has cut short a trip to the Dordogne and is set to visit the injured soldier this afternoon.
An estimated 1,250 people were inside the famous art gallery, home to the Mona Lisa, when the shooting happened. Pictures from inside the museum shows schoolchildren cowering during the emergency lockdown.
French President Francoise Hollande has praised security forces for their quick response.
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A grainy picture claims to show the immediate aftermath of this morning’s shooting after a machete-wielding man attacked four soldiers outside the Louvre in the centre of Paris
The suspect is in a serious condition after being shot five times in the stomach following an attack on four soldiers this morning
The area around the Louvre museum in Paris has been evacuated after a huge security operation was launched this morning
This morning’s attack has been branded a ‘serious security incident’ by the French Interior ministry
After being refused entry, a man pulled out the weapon and was shot by a soldier, according to sources at the scene. A solider is believed to have suffered a head injury
Young children were among those inside the Louvre when the ‘serious’ security incident happened
US President Donald Trump described the attacker as a ‘radical Islamic terrorist’ and said France was ‘on edge again’
Soldiers patrolling as part of France’s ongoing State of Emergency stopped the man getting into the building shortly after 9am.
‘He was carrying a suitcase and was refused access,’ said a police source at the scene. ‘The man immediately withdrew a knife, and attacked.
‘It was at this moment that a soldier used his weapon to disable the men, who was wounded. The area has been evacuated.’
A spokesman for the military force that patrols key sites in Paris said the four-man patrol of soldiers tried to fight off the assailant before they opened fire.
Benoit Brulon said a soldier who was slightly injured by the attacker was not the solider who opened fire.
The alleged attacker is in a ‘serious condition’, officials have said.
Michel Cadot, the Paris prefect, said at the scene: ‘Emergency workers are currently trying to revive him.
‘He was shot five times in the stomach, but is still alive. A soldier was also injured.’
Mr Cadot said the attack happened at the top of an escalator that leads down into the shopping complex.
He said the knifeman ‘appeared to be acting alone’, and that the words used pointed to extremist terrorism.
Mr Cadot said the soldier had to ‘neutralise the attacker’ after the soldier was lightly injured by the assailant.
The suspect’s rucksack was searched, but there was no sign of any explosives.
Armed officers stand guard in the courtyard outside the Louvre following this morning’s attack, which has been described as ‘terrorist in nature’ by French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve
Large teams of police officers descended on the iconic Louvre museum following this morning’s shooting
Soldiers patrolling as part of France’s ongoing State of Emergency stopped the man getting into the building shortly after 9 am
The drama unfolded next to the Carrousel du Louvre – a vast underground shopping centre built into the museum complex.
The huge former royal palace in the heart of the city is home to the Mona Lisa and other world-famous works of art but also a shopping complex and numerous exhibition spaces.
It is always packed with thousands of tourists from all over the world, all of whom have their bags inspected before entry. By 11am, the entire area was shut down, as hundreds of extra soldiers and police flooded into the area.
The Rue de Rivoli running alongside the museum was closed to traffic while trains were being pushed through the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre metro station without stopping.
The emergency response was filmed on live video app Periscope this morning.
Police union official Yves Lefebvre said the man attacked soldiers when they told him he could not enter an underground shopping mall beneath the Louvre with his bags.
Mr Lefebvre says police found two machetes on the man.
The drama unfolded next to the Carrousel du Louvre – a vast underground shopping centre built into the museum complex
French police, soldiers and firefighters in front of the street entrance of the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris this morning after the attack
Among the visitors caught up in the terror were students and staff from Godalming College in Surrey.
A message sent by college chiefs to staff and parents, seen by Get Surrey, said while the drama was ongoing: ‘We wanted to let you know that we have been in contact with the Trip Leaders and that all the students and staff are together, safe, and are following advice from security services.
‘They are being kept all together in an area of the museum at the moment. From what we are able to glean at this early stage it appears to be an isolated incident.’
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said travel advice for the French capital had been amended due to the incident.
He told a Westminster briefing: ‘The travel advice to Paris has been updated, basically exercising caution in the area affected. Our threat level remains where it is.
‘The Foreign Office has been liaising with their counterparts in France. Obviously, we are ready to assist if required.’
Visitors were kept in safe areas inside the former royal palace for more than two hours before being evacuated
More than 1,000 people were inside the Louvre when the attack happened, and they were taken to safe areas
A large security operation was launched following the attack, and roads around the Louvre were closed
‘We’ve been told to leave – it’s very frightening,’ said John O’Shea, a 52-year-old Canadian who was with his wife and young son.
‘Everybody is talking terrorism, but we really don’t know what’s going on. Apparently a number of shots were fired.’
Restaurant worker Sanae Hadraoui, 32, was waiting for breakfast at the Louvre’s restaurant complex when she heard the first gunshot.
She said: ‘I hear a shot. Then a second shot. Then maybe two more. I hear people screaming, “Evacuate! Evacuate!
‘They told us to evacuate. I told my colleagues at the McDonalds. We went downstairs and then took the emergency exit.’
Hadraoui, who has worked at the Louvre for seven years, said the evacuation was orderly. She was smoking a cigarette when her managers told her people were going back inside.
Paris is on a high state of terrorist alert following murderous attacks by Islamic State operatives in 2015.
On November 13 2015, 130 people were murdered in a single night of violence which included attacks on the Stade de France, the Bataclan concert venue and cafés and restaurants.
French President Francois Hollande tweeted to praise the courage of the soldiers who responded to the attack
The French interior ministry has branded this morning’s incident ‘serious’ in a post on Twitter
Hundreds of specially-trained officers descended on the streets around the Paris landmark following the attack this morning
A COUNTRY UNDER SIEGE: TERROR ATTACKS IN FRANCE OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS
July 14, 2016 – Amid Bastille Day celebrations in the Riviera city of Nice, a large truck is driven into a festive crowd. Some 86 people from a wide variety of countries are killed. The driver is shot dead. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility for the attack. The state of emergency in France is extended and extra protection, including robust barriers to prevent similar attacks, is put in place at major sites in France.
June 13, 2016 – Two French police officers are murdered in their home in front of their 3-year-old son. Islamic State claims responsibility for the slaying, which was carried out by a jihadist with a prior terrorist conviction. He is killed by police on the scene.
Nov. 13, 2015 – Islamic State militants kill 130 people in France’s worst atrocity since World War II. A series of suicide bomb and shooting attacks are launched on crowded sites in central Paris, as well as the northern suburb of Saint-Denis. Most of those killed are in a crowded theater where hostages are taken. Islamic State extremists claim responsibility and say it was in retaliation for French participation in airstrikes on the militant group’s positions in Syria and Iraq. It leads to the declaration of a state of emergency in France. Police powers are expanded.
Jan. 7, 2015 – Two brothers kill 11 people inside the Paris building where the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is headquartered in what Islamic State extremists claim is retaliation for the publication of cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. More are killed subsequently in attacks on a kosher market in eastern Paris and on police. There are 17 victims in all, including two police officers. The attackers are killed.
A shop worker who was in the shopping centre at the time of the attack said: ‘We heard gunfire and reacted immediately – shutting down the grills in front of the shop, and retreating into the back.’
The 19-year-old man, who asked not to be named added: ‘Once the all-clear was given by the police we got out as quickly as possible. I’m on my way home.
‘You always hear about the possibility of terrorism, especially in the area around the Louvre, but this was the real thing.’
Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist Mayor of Paris, soon arrived at the scene to praise the ‘extreme efficiency’ of the soldiers who foiled what could have been a very serious attack.
Paul Lecher, 68, who was inside the Louvre when the attack happened, said: ‘(The announcement) came over the loudspeakers that are dotted around.
‘Everything happened calmly. It was just a case of listening … People quickly understood, even those who didn’t understand a word of French, that something unusual was happening.’
Visitors were kept inside for a time after the attempted attack.
‘There were announcements, then the security guards started running all over the place and after a short period they started gathering everybody up and getting them to one side of the building,’ said Lance Manus, 71, from Albany, New York.
Manus and his wife Wendy said security guards made people sit tightly together, away from the windows, and that some children were crying.
‘We sat there for over an hour waiting and finally they said we are going to evacuate… as we exited the police were searching and checking everybody.’
The Louvre, now home to tens of thousands of artworks, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, was first built as a fortress in 1190.
It is the world’s second most visited museum, behind the Palace Museum in China, and attracted 7.3 million visitors in 2016.
This was down from 8.6 million the previous year.
The building was reconstructed as a royal palace in the 16th century, and first used as a museum in 1793 during the French Revolution.
Monarch Louis XVI had been imprisoned the previous year, and the royal collection inside the building became public property.
The museum was renamed the Louvre Musée Napoléon during Napoléon’s reign.
Large parts of the building were destroyed by socialist revolutionaries in 1871. Members of the Paris Commune started a fire which lasted for two days, but incredibly the museum survived.
The distinctive pyramid and its underground lobby was completed in 1989, and The Inverted Pyramid beneath it was finished in 1993.
Historic: The Musée du Louvre, pictured in 1949. became a public museum during the French Revolution after Louis XVI was imprisoned
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