Published: Sun, August 06, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Eiffel Tower evacuated after man arrested with knife

Eiffel Tower evacuated after man arrested with knife

A man has been arrested after attempting to storm the Eiffel Tower with a knife.

The suspect told police he wanted to attack a solider and had been in contact with an Islamic State jihadist, the AFP news agency reported.

The incident at the world-famous tourist site was initially treated as a criminal matter, but was later designated a counter-terrorism case because of the suspect's statements to police and his apparent radicalization, the source said.

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Since previous year, the Eiffel Tower and ticket boxes are only available after you go through metal detectors and check-ins.

He was quickly mobbed by security officials and detained.

An investigation is now open, with the man's motives not yet known.

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The BBC report that he was wearing a Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football shirt.

A source close to the investigation said the suspect, a French national born in Mauritania in 1998, had been in a psychiatric hospital for several months and was granted temporary permission to leave care from August 4 to August 6.

Soldiers who are permanently stationed at the Eiffel Tower ordered him to drop his weapon. Police evacuated the tower to carry out a check of the entire site.

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France has been in an official state of emergency since November 2015 when 130 people were left dead in coordinated attacks in the capital, including an assault on a rock concert in the Bataclan theatre. Its interior minister said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the threat of militant attacks was "very high".

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