February 3, 2017 / 12:16 PM / 6 months ago

Thwarted machete attack clouds Paris Olympic bid

2 Min Read

A general view shows the Carrousel du Louvre and the Louvre Pyramid as French police secure the site in Paris, France, February 3, 2017 after a French soldier shot and wounded a man armed with a machete and carrying two bags on his back as he tried to enter the Paris Louvre museum.Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - The Paris bid to host the 2024 Olympics suffered an untimely setback on Friday when a French soldier wounded a man armed with a machete as he tried to enter the Louvre museum.

Paris was submitting its bid to the International Olympic Committee on Friday, a day set to culminate in the evening with a launch show at the Eiffel Tower, the last of a series of demos that started in the morning at a school in the Seine Saint-Denis suburban area.

Officials said the events would go ahead as planned despite the Louvre incident, in which police said a man carrying two bags and shouting Allahu Akbar (God is greatest) rushed at police and soldiers before being shot near the museum's shopping mall. The man was alive but seriously wounded after what the government said appeared to be a terrorist attack.

"The programme is unchanged," a spokesperson for Paris 2024 said.

"We were already on high alert. The sites have already been secured with notably anti-bomb squads checking the facilities."

A news conference featuring Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was scheduled at 1600 GMT.

Paris is competing with Los Angeles and Budapest to host the 2024 Olympics.

"This terrorist threat concerns all the cities in the world. We have extremely efficient security services in our city," said Hidalgo after the Louvre incident.

France has been hit by a series of militant Islamist attacks over the past two years in which more than 230 people have been killed.

The soldier who fired at the machete-wielding man on Friday was from one of the patrolling groups that have become a common sight around Paris since a state of emergency was declared across France in November 2015. It remains in force.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Gareth Jones

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