Louvre museum shooting 'terrorist in nature', says PM Bernard Cazeneuve

Reuters Paris, France Feb 03, 2017, 09.47 AM(IST)

A French soldier opened fire and wounded a man armed with a gun who was trying to enter the Louvre museum in Paris. Photograph:( Getty )

A French soldier opened fire and wounded a man armed with a gun who was trying to enter the Louvre museum in central Paris, police said.

Police added that the man was carrying a machete gun and carrying two bags on his back as he tried to enter the Paris Louvre museum. The attacker was alive but seriously wounded, the head of Paris police Michel Cadot told reporters at the scene, adding the bags he had been carrying contained no explosives. Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called the attack "terrorist in nature" after the incident which led streets around the world-famous museum to be sealed off.

"The soldier fired five bullets," Cadot said, describing how the man hurried threateningly towards the soldiers. "It was an attack by a person... who represented a direct threat and whose actions suggested a terrorist context."

An anti-terrorism inquiry has been opened, the public prosecutor said in a statement. 

The identity and nationality of the attacker remains unknown for now, French interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said. Cadot added that a second individual had been detained.

The interior ministry had said on Twitter the incident was "serious".

Media reports quoting a French police spokesman said the attacker shouted "Allahu Akbar" - God is great in Arabic - but was not carrying explosives. It was confirmed by Michael Cadot, he added, "Police believe he wanted to carry out a terrorist attack."

French daily L' Express had earlier reported that the suspect was carrying a knife.

Video uploaded on Twitter shortly after the incident took place showed people still waiting in line outside the entrance to the museum. Some people were also seen strolling in the square nearby.

(WION with Agency inputs)