Europe

Louvre attack: Injured suspect 'refusing to speak' to investigators

French soldiers outside Louvre 04.02.2017 Image copyright AP
Image caption Security had already been stepped up after a string of attacks in France

A man suspected of attacking soldiers with two machetes at Paris's Louvre Museum on Friday is refusing to speak to investigators, judicial sources say.

The man, believed to be 29-year-old Egyptian Abdullah Hamamy, was shot in the stomach as, authorities say, he lunged at soldiers with the knives.

President Francois Hollande says there is little doubt it was a terrorist act.

But Mr Hamamy's father has challenged the French authorities' account of the incident.

Reda al-Hamamy, a retired Egyptian police general, said his son was not a terrorist and accused the soldier who fired of "using brute force with a poor young man".

French authorities say the suspect also shouted the Islamic phrase "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") during the attack.

The suspect has been held at a Paris hospital since the attack near the museum, which houses numerous celebrated art works, including the Mona Lisa.

"The first interview took place this morning, but it turned out to be a short one. For the moment, he refuses to talk to investigators," the source at the prosecutor's office told Reuters.

Investigators have contacted Egyptian officials to try to confirm the suspect's identity through DNA testing, a source close to the inquiry told AFP news agency.

Reda al-Hamamy said his son was in Paris on a business trip, lives in the United Arab Emirates, and has a wife and a seven-month old son.

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Media captionIbrahim Yossry, suspect's friend: "Abdullah was peaceful, respectful and never harmed anyone"

Spray paint found

Police are also examining Mr Hamamy's Twitter account after around a dozen messages were posted in Arabic just minutes before the attack.

"In the name of Allah... for our brothers in Syria and fighters across the world," he wrote, before referring to the Islamic State jihadist group in another tweet a minute later, AFP says.

The suspect arrived in France on 26 January after obtaining a tourist visa in Dubai, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Friday. He is believed to have bought two machetes after arriving.

Cans of spray paint, but no explosives, were found in his backpack.

Hundreds of visitors were inside the museum at the time of the attack and were evacuated.

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Media caption"France is strong" - Tourist at the Louvre museum in Paris

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