Condition of Louvre attack suspect 'deteriorates sharply'

A picture showing Abdallah El-Hamahmy, who is suspected of being the man who tried to attack a group of French soldiers at the Louvre with a machete.
A picture showing Abdallah El-Hamahmy, who is suspected of being the man who tried to attack a group of French soldiers at the Louvre with a machete.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - The Egyptian suspect in the attack on soldiers outside the Louvre museum in Paris was questioned in hospital on Tuesday (Feb 7) over the attack but the interrogation was cut short after his condition deteriorated, judicial sources said.

Abdallah El-Hamahmy, 29 was shot after lunging at a group of soldiers on patrol next to the Louvre on Friday, wielding two machetes and shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).

He suffered serious abdominal injuries but had recovered sufficiently by Monday to began answering questions.

He "gave his version of the facts", a source said, without giving more details.

On Tuesday evening, the interrogation was halted after his condition "deteriorated sharply", the sources said.

The attack near the Louvre, one of the world's most visited museums, has revived fears that France remains a target for Islamic militants 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.

The suspect, believed to be living in the United Arab Emirates, entered France on Jan 26 on a flight from Dubai.

He was staying in a rented apartment near the Champs-Elysees avenue that was booked online in June.

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 told AFP.

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.

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