Louvre attack suspect speaks to French investigators

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 11:19pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 11:39pm

The Egyptian suspect in the attack on soldiers outside the Louvre museum in Paris has begun speaking to investigators and confirmed his identity, a source in the inquiry said on Tuesday.

The man, who was shot after wielding two machetes and lunging at a group of soldiers while shouting “Allahu akbar [God is great]” on Friday, has recovered sufficiently to confirm he is Abdallah El-Hamahmy, 29.

He “gave his version of the facts”, the source said, without giving more details.

It is believed the suspect lives in the United Arab Emirates and entered France on January 26 on a flight from Dubai. He was staying in a rented apartment near the Champs-Elysees avenue that was booked online in June, four months before he made a visa application.

Speaking to AFP in Cairo on Saturday, retired senior police officer Reda El-Hamahmy said he believed the suspect was his son and that he had been in Paris on a business trip.

But he said there were no signs his son had been radicalised.

“He went on a company trip and when it was over visited the museum. He was supposed to leave on Saturday,” he said. He said Abdallah’s pregnant wife was currently staying in Saudi Arabia with their seven-month-old son.

French authorities are also examining Hamahmy’s Twitter account after around a dozen messages were posted in Arabic minutes before the attack.

Attacker in Louvre terror attack believed to be Egyptian who travelled on a tourist visa

“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.

The attack near the Louvre, one of the world’s most visited museums, has revived fears that France remains a target for jihadists after a string of bloody attacks that have killed more than 230 people since 2015. The threat is one of the major issues in the campaign for this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.