Justice

French court jails Louvre machete attacker for 30 years

The Louvre museum in Paris (Illustration photo)
The Louvre museum in Paris (Illustration photo) © AFP/Ludovic Marin/File

A French court on Thursday handed a 30 year jail term to a man who, in 2017, attacked soldiers with machetes outside the Louvre museum in Paris.

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Judges issued a sentence in line with anti-terror prosecutors' demands for Egyptian citizen Abdalla El Hamahmy, 33, who did not react from behind his coronavirus mask as it was read out to him via an interpreter.

The court also requested a permanent ban from French territory and Hamahmy's name will appear on a government terror crime list.

Early on 3 February 2017, Hamahmy, who at the time worked for a Dubai-based company, rushed at a group of soldiers patrolling the Louvre area armed with a machete in each hand and wearing a t-shirt with a skull motif.

Shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest"), he wounded one soldier on the scalp before himself being severely wounded when the patrol opened fire.

He insisted throughout the trial that he had planned to protest against French policy in Syria by destroying art masterpieces inside the Louvre museum, which houses thousands of works including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

Hamahmy claimed to have been surprised to encounter soldiers, who have patrolled central Paris since a wave of Islamist terrorist attacks that have killed more than 250 in France since 2015.

He said that he attacked them "as a reflex", saying he was acting "like a robot".

During the trial, Hamahmy attempted to deny the authenticity of a video in which he swore allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group.

But he later admitted that he tried to join IS in the Middle East before turning his sights on France.

IS never claimed responsibility for his attack.

(with AFP)

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