Louvre suspect's father: My son is no terrorist

Louvre suspect's father: My son is no terrorist
The man shot by French security forces for wielding a machete in the Louvre museum showed no signs of radicalisation, his father suggested.
3 min read
04 February, 2017
The attacker was shot by soldiers on the scene [Getty]
The father of the Egyptian suspected of being the machete attacker in Paris's Louvre museum rejected claims against his son, insisting he is not a terrorist.

Reda El-Hamahmy, a retired police general, told AFP he had been constantly in touch with his son, Abdallah El-Hamahmy, who worked as a sales manager in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, and backed his innocence.

"He went on a company trip and when it was over visited the museum. He was supposed to leave on Saturday," Hamahmy said, before questioning the events that led to the shooting of his son.

"The French government's account is not logical. He was 1.65 metres tall (five foot five) and attacked four guards? And in the end they found nothing in his bags," he said.

"For them to say in the end that he is a terrorist is nonsense ... This is a cover up so they don't have to apologise or justify the acts of this soldier who used brute force with a poor young man of 29," he said according to Reuters.

"I find it incomprehensible that a young man on his way to commit a terrorist act only has a knife with him. If you tell me he had a gun, a rifle, then yes, I'd believe you, but I don't know ... All we want is the truth," he said.

Hamahmy said he believed the wounded suspect was his son, Abdallah El-Hamahmy, who he said has had no contact with the family since Friday.

"National Security (police) came yesterday and asked for information about him, and I gave them whatever I had," he said.

Abdallah El-Hamahmy is married, with his pregnant wife currently staying in Saudi Arabia with their seven-month-old son, his father said.

The attacker is believed to have entered France legally on a flight from Dubai on January 26, a French source said.

Investigators are examining a Twitter account of El-Hamahmy who reportedly posted around a dozen messages minutes prior to the attack.

"In the name of Allah... for our brothers in Syria and fighters across the world," El-Hamahmy wrote, linking to a post he wrote on his Facebook page.

"No negotiations, no compromise, steadfastness and no retreat," he added.

His Facebook page and his Twitter account have since been suspended.

In another post on Twitter, he cited a verse from the Quran that promises heaven to those who are killed fighting for the sake of God.

Another post questioned: "Why are they afraid of the creation of a state for Islam? Because the state of Islam defends its resources and the honour of Muslims."

He also insulted US President Donald Trump the same day, labelling him "Donald Duck".

He had announced his trip to France in a Twitter message on January 26. "Travelling to Paris, France from DXB," he wrote.

A friend of El-Hamahmy said he believed the Twitter account to be that of the suspect, who he insisted had not been an extremist.

"I knew him since he graduated," he said of Hamahmy, who travelled to the United Arab Emirates after obtaining a law degree from Egypt's Mansoura University.

"I didn't pay attention to his Twitter account, but read it after the incident," said the friend, who requested anonymity.

"It's as though it's a different person. As though it was hacked."