French president warns "terrorist threat here to stay"

The assailant, who was holding a machete in each hand when he attacked a group of soldiers, was foiled and shot up to five times.

Two potential attacks were thwarted in September including one by a group of women who parked a vehicle containing gas canisters near Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral.

The man was armed with at least one machete and carrying two briefcases as he attempted to enter the museum's shopping center.

Police searched an apartment the man had rented in Paris and were working to establish whether he acted alone, on impulse, or on orders from someone.

The interior ministry said on Twitter that the incident was "serious".

Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said the motivation and the identity of the attacker is unknown.

Details about the suspect were not immediately disclosed, but French media reported that he shouted "Allahu akbar", or "God is great" in Arabic, as he charged at the soldier. "He has been taken to hospital and is fighting for his life".

The man, identified as a 29-year-old Egyptian, is no longer in a critical condition, AFP news agency quotes a police source as saying.

The attacker was alive but seriously wounded, the head of Paris police Michel Cadot told reporters at the scene, adding the bags he had been carrying contained no explosives.

The museum in the centre of Paris is one of the French capital's biggest tourist attractions. The interior ministry also said a second person was arrested in connection to the attack.

France has been a target of terrorist groups.

Heavily armed soldiers have been on the streets of Paris since the terrorist attacks on the city in November 2015. Over the past two years, Islamist attacks in France have left more than 200 people dead. In January 2015, 17 people were killed when gunmen attacked the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris and shoppers at a Jewish supermarket.

  • Rogelio Becker