posted at 8:36 am on February 3, 2017 by Ed Morrissey
French security forces may have prevented a terror attack in the Louvre, the world’s most well-known art museum. One or more soldiers shot and wounded a man armed with a machete who tried to enter into some shops under the museum, but who went on the attack after challenged and injured one of the soldiers. It didn’t last long after that, as Fox News explains:
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A group of four French soldiers were attacked Friday inside a shopping mall beneath the Louvre Museum in Paris by a machete-wielding man shouting “Allahu akbar,” authorities said.
One of the soldiers suffered minor injuries and the attacker was gravely wounded. A military spokesman said the soldiers tried to fight off the assailant before opening fire. The soldier who was slightly injured was not the soldier who opened fire, according to authorities.
The investigation is in its early stages, but the head of police told Reuters that– based on the attackers remarks– authorities believe the suspect wanted to carry out a terror attack at the famed museum. …
“We are dealing with an attack from an individual who was clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat, and whose comments lead us to believe that he wished to carry out a terrorist incident,” Michel Cadot, the head of the police force, said.
CBS also notes the “Allahu akbar” cry during the attack, except they translate it to English:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 3, 2017
President Trump has already commented on the attack, warning that the US needs to “get smart” about terrorism:
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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
That conclusion is a bit premature, but it’s not unreasonable either from the evidence so far. Police haven’t released a lot of information about the attacker yet, so we still don’t know much at the moment. However, the machete attack is a familiar tactic for radical Islamist terrorists who work on their own, plus the “Allahu akbar” cry points to that conclusion as well. Interestingly, the attacker had two backpacks, Fox reports, but neither contained explosives — and that’s fortunate for the soldiers who stopped him.
CNN headlines this as a “knife attack,” but reports it as a machete attack in the body of the article:
French authorities have opened a terror investigation after a solider shot a man wielding a machete near the Louvre museum in Paris.
The man had rushed towards a group of soldiers and guards in the Carrousel du Louvre, the underground plaza adjoining the museum, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot. Wielding the weapon, the man shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest), Cadot said.
The soldier fired five shots in response.
There are serious qualitative and tactical differences between a knife attack and a machete attack; they’re both edged weapons, but that’s about the extent of the similarities. However, this discrepancy might be the artifact of updates on the story; CNN might have heard “knife” at first and just haven’t updated the headline to match the updates in the story. Other news agencies, such as the Guardian, also have the same knife/machete discrepancy at the moment.
We’ll have more as it develops. So far, at least, it does not appear to be part of a coordinated attack on Paris, but it’s still early on that score. As with other attacks, don’t get too far ahead of the story with assumptions until more evidence and police testimony emerges.