France jails Louvre machete attacker for 30 years

Man, 33, used two blades to attack soldiers outside Louvre in Paris

Visitors take a break outside the Louvre Museum courtyard, in Paris, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. France is back in business as a tourist destination after opening its borders Wednesday to foreign visitors who are inoculated against the coronavirus with vaccines approved by the European Union's medicines agency. France's acceptance of only the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines means that tourism is still barred for would-be visitors from China and other countries that use other vaccines. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

A French court on Thursday jailed for 30 years a man who used machetes to attack soldiers outside the world-famous Louvre museum in Paris.

Judges issued the sentence in line with anti-terrorism prosecutors' demands for Egyptian citizen Abdalla El Hamahmi, 33, who did not react from behind his coronavirus mask as it was read to him by an interpreter.

El Hamahmi, a married father, rushed at a group of soldiers patrolling the Louvre area early on February 3, 2017, with a machete in each hand and wearing a T-shirt with a skull motif.

He wounded one soldier to the scalp before being severely injured when the patrol opened fire.

El Hamahmi insisted throughout the trial that he planned to protest against French policy in Syria by destroying masterpieces inside the Louvre, which houses thousands of works including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

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

El Hamahmi said he attacked them "as a reflex", saying he was acting "like a robot".

During the trial, tried to deny the authenticity of a video in which he swore allegiance to ISIS.

But he later admitted he tried to join ISIS in the Middle East before turning to France.

ISIS did not claim responsibility for his attack.