Saturday,17 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1331, (9 - 15 February 2017)
Saturday,17 November, 2018
Issue 1331, (9 - 15 February 2017)

Ahram Weekly

The Louvre mystery

The Louvre Museum attacker has left hospital and is being questioned by French police

The Louvre mystery
The Louvre mystery

Abdallah Reda Al-Hamami, a 29-year-old Egyptian alleged to have attacked a security guard at the Louvre Museum in Paris, left hospital in France this week and was taken by French police to an unknown location for questioning. It was reported that Al-Hamami refused to talk to investigators and remained silent throughout the interrogation.

After the attack on 3 February international media outlets reported that French police shot Al-Hamami five times in the stomach when he attempted to attack the soldier with a knife. The police initially said they believed the attacker was an Egyptian citizen. Paris Police Chief Michel Cadot said that the attacker yelled “Allah Akbar”, Arabic for “God is great”, before attacking a soldier who was slightly injured. The soldier fired five shots at the man, injuring him seriously.

Al-Hamami’s father told the press that his son left for Paris on 26 January from the United Arab Emirates on a business trip. “My son was scheduled to leave Paris on 4 February. A day before his departure he was visiting the famous museum. While leaving the museum he was unpleasantly questioned by the museum police which resulted in a dispute that led to my son being shot.”

Al-Hamami is the father of a seven-month-old boy. “Why would my son be sent by his company in the UAE on a business trip, leaving his wife and baby boy behind and commit such a foolish act?” the father asked. “My son loves his family and cares about them. He can’t risk their future and stability.”

The father denied claims by French media that his son was carrying a machete with which he attacked the police. He also denied allegations that his son belongs to an Islamist terrorist group. The father rejected the notion that his son hates the French and that he is their enemy. “I am being updated with what is happening by the head of the Egyptian community in Paris, Salah Farhoud. I am also working with Farhoud to get a lawyer for my son,” the father said.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning Friday’s attack in Paris and asserted Egypt’s support for France in countering terrorism. According to the statement published on its Facebook page, the ministry asked the international community to intensify its efforts in combating terrorism which it said is targeting the stability and security of nations.

“Egypt’s nation and government are supporting the French people and government in facing terrorism following the attack which targeted security personnel in front of the Louvre Museum,” the statement said.

In a televised phone-in, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said there had been no build-up of tension with France and that Egypt was also dealing with terrorism.

Egypt’s parliament spoke to the Foreign Ministry on the incident, according to parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee member Tarek Al-Khouli. “There is no solid information on the matter yet. The discussion is part of the committee’s job to follow up on incidents involving Egyptian nationals abroad,” Al-Khouli said.

French President François Hollande said there was little doubt the attack was an act of terrorism.

In a statement issued on Friday the Egyptian community in France condemned the attack, describing it as “black terrorism”. It said Islam had no connection with such incidents. The statement noted that Egyptians in France “are part of the French community” and declared their solidarity with the French police.

“Egyptians in France are part of the French community. We all declare our solidarity with the French state’s institutions. We all will work to counter terrorism and keep our second country safe,” the statement read.

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