French court sentences Louvre machete assailant to 30 years in prison

PARIS — A French court on Thursday issued a jail sentence of 30 years to a man who attacked soldiers with machetes outside the Louvre museum in Paris.

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

A married father who did commercial work for a Dubai-based company, Hamahmi rushed at a group of soldiers patrolling the Louvre area early on February 3, 2017, armed with a machete in each hand and wearing a t-shirt with a skull motif.

Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic), he wounded one soldier on the scalp, before he was 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.

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

French police officers and soldiers patrol in front of the Louvre museum on February 3, 2017 in Paris after a soldier had shot and gravely injured a man who tried to attack him. (AFP Photo/Alain Jocard)

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

During the trial, Hamahmi attempted to deny the authenticity of a video in which he swore allegiance to the Islamic State terror 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.

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