Further details emerge of Louvre suspect amid police raids

The man was shot five times outside the Paris landmark

Further details emerge of Louvre suspect amid police raids

Police officers patrol inside the Louvre Museum after a shooting outside at the museum in Paris | Image: Christophe Ena AP/Press Association Images

Several police raids have been conducted in Paris after a "terrorist" tried to enter the Louvre museum carrying machetes.

The suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Abdullah Reda Refaei al-Hamamy, who lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but is originally from Egypt, according to security sources.

He was shot five times after lunging at four French soldiers outside the Paris landmark.

The assailant shouted "Allahu Akbar" while holding a machete in each hand, and prosecutors said he was hovering between life and death after being subdued by one of the patrolmen.

A raid was carried out last night at an apartment near the tree-lined Champs-Elysees where cash, an Egyptian passport, and a driver's licence issued by the UAE were discovered.

It is believed the suspect arrived in France on January 26th after acquiring a one-month tourist visa in Dubai.

Parisian prosecutor Francois Molins said the suspect had bought two military machetes at a gun store in Paris on January 28th, and it is believed that the attacker's return flight to Dubai was scheduled for tomorrow.

The man was wearing a black t-shirt adorned with a skull design when he targeted the soldiers, and apparently became violent when he was told he could not enter the Louvre with his bags.

No explosives were found in his backpack, which only contained cans of spray paint.

As many as 1,200 people were locked inside windowless rooms within the museum as the incident was dealt with, and groups were only allowed to leave once their identities had been checked.

Attack "of a terrorist nature"

Witnesses reported seeing a crowd of people running away from the scene and screaming.

One Twitter user, called Maya, wrote: "We've all been locked inside...there are hundreds of vans outside."

The Louvre remained closed on Friday but culture minister Audrey Azoulay said it would reopen today.

President Francois Hollande praised the soldiers for preventing a terror attack, and Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attack was "of a terrorist nature".

The soldier who opened fire was part of Operation Sentinelle, the massive deployment of French military in response to recent attacks.

Interior minister Bruno Le Roux praised the patrol involved, saying: "To wear a uniform, as we can see in the propaganda of those who want to attack us, is to be a target."

France has been on its highest state of alert following terror attacks in Paris and Nice in the last two years.

Annual visitor numbers at the Louvre have suffered as a result - falling by more than two million as the tourism industry takes a hit, with visitors cancelling their trips or shortening their stays.

The incident came hours before Paris unveiled its bid to host the Olympics in 2024.

It would be the first time the French city has hosted a summer games in 100 years, but it faces stiff competition from Los Angeles and Budapest.

Security is also becoming a crucial campaign issue for candidates in May's presidential election.