French police launched a terror investigation Friday after a man tried to attack soldiers on patrol outside the Louvre Museum in Paris.
French prosecutor Francois Molins said the attacker was a 29-year-old Egyptian man who was a resident of the United Arab Emirates and arrived in Paris in late January after obtaining a tourist visa. Authorities have yet to officially identify the suspect.
Officials say a man carrying two bags tried to enter an underground shopping mall near the Louvre Museum around 10 a.m. Friday. Guards stopped the man, who then rushed at the soldiers wielding a machete and shouting “God is great” in Arabic.
Paris Police Chief Michel Cadot told reporters that one of the soldiers stationed outside the museum fired five bullets, wounding the man, whom Cadot said “represented a direct threat.”
One of the soldiers sustained a minor scalp injury as a result of the attack.
From an EU summit in Malta, French President Francois Hollande said there was “no doubt” the attack was terrorist in nature. He said that the situation is now “totally under control,” but added that the threat to France remains.
France has been under a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks in November 2015, which left 130 people dead.
There have been a number of attacks in the country since then, including one by a man who killed 86 and wounded more than 400 people last year when he rammed a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.
French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the anti-terrorism section of the Paris judicial police and the General Directorate for Internal Security are investigating Friday’s incident.
Brandet said tourists who were inside the museum were held in safe areas before they were allowed to leave.
The attacker has been hospitalized with life-threatening conditions and is expected to be interrogated.
Authorities found spray paint cans in his bags, but no explosives. Molins said authorities have searched a Paris apartment the suspect rented and are investigating the motives behind his actions.
Luc Poignant, a police union official, said police had conducted a raid in Paris near Champs-Elysees Avenue.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo praised the actions of the soldiers, who are part of the “Sentinel Operation,” an anti-terror security operation instituted after the 2015 terror attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“I would like to pay tribute the extreme reactivity and efficiency of police forces and military forces of the ‘operation Sentinelle,’” said Hidalgo, who also thanked the injured soldier, saying his actions likely prevented a future attack.