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Facing Paris prosecutors, Louvre suspect clams up

The suspect in a machete attack at the Louvre is refusing to answer questions, news agencies report. He has been formally taken into custody in a hospital.

The suspect in Friday's machete attack at the Louvre has declined to answer prosecutors' initial questions, judicial sources told news agencies on Sunday. Soldiers shot the suspect at least four times in the torso on Friday after he allegedly attacked them in what French President Francois Hollande has since described as a terrorist attack.

"For the moment," a judicial source told Reuters, "he refuses to talk to investigators."

Investigators have begun hunting for clues to establish whether the suspect acted alone, on impulse or on orders. He allegedly attacked troops checking bags near the museum's underground shopping mall with a machete in each hand, wounding one soldier. The suspect's injuries no longer appear life-threatening, according to the Paris prosecutor's office.

The Louvre reopened Saturday under an even heavier presence of police and soldiers.

Terrorism? 'Nonsense.'

French authorities have not named their suspect but did say they believe that he is a 29-year-old man from Egypt. Officials in Cairo identified him as Abdullah al-Hamahmy.

The suspect's father said he last spoke with his son a few hours before the attack and that they had discussed what color hat Hamahmy should buy to protect him against the cold weather of Paris. Hamahmy's father called the allegation of terrorism "nonsense," saying the youngest of his four children had worked in the United Arab Emirates for five years after graduating from law school and had traveled to Paris on business.

In an interview with Reuters on Saturday, Hamahmy's father, Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, described his son as a married man with an infant son and accused French officials of fabricating the allegations to justify shooting him. Asked if his son had shown militant tendencies, the retired police major general said: "If he had I would have thrown him out of the house."

Hamahmy's father told Reuters that he had heard the news of the Louvre incident via Facebook. Shortly afterward, police went to his house to ask him some questions.

"If he is convicted, God be with us, but if he is innocent they owe us an apology," he said in a separate interview with the Associated Press news agency on Saturday at the family's home in Egypt's Nile Delta city of Mansour.

"He is a very respectable man who never had a problem with anybody," Hamahmy's father said. "He never had any sort of political views. His main concern in his life was his work in the United Arab Emirates."

Hamahmy arrived in France January 26 after obtaining a tourist visa in Dubai. Egyptian security officials have not said whether he had any known links to militant groups.

Watch video 02:30

@dwnews - Tourists use smartphones to capture Louvre scene after machete attack

mkg/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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