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France

Eiffel Tower knife attacker returned to psychiatric hospital

© Ludovic Marin, AFP file picture | The man arrested at the Eiffel Tower last week while brandishing a knife reportedly told investigators he wanted to attack a soldier.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-08-08

A French teen who tried to attack soldiers guarding the Eiffel Tower is being sent back to a psychiatric hospital after he was deemed unfit to face prosecution.

The assailant, who is aged around 19 and has a history of psychological problems, was arrested late on Saturday at the Paris monument after bursting past security and shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Greatest").

The Paris prosecutor's office said Tuesday that a psychiatric expert deemed him unfit to face prosecution, so he was released from custody. He was returned to the same hospital that discharged him last week, just before the incident at the tower.

The prosecutor's office said counterterrorism magistrates opened a judicial inquiry Tuesday into the attempted attack, which will allow a second opinion on the man's awareness of his actions and fitness to face prosecution.

No one was hurt in the incident. The suspect told police he had been in contact with a member of the Islamic State (IS) group who encouraged him to attack security forces.

France has been in a state of emergency since November 2015 and has seen a string of attacks on security forces, particularly those guarding key tourist sites.

In February, a man armed with a machete attacked four soldiers on patrol at Paris's Louvre Museum, while in April another extremist shot and killed a policeman on the Champs-Élysées.

In June, a 40-year-old Algeria doctorate student who had pledged allegiance to the IS group attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame cathedral.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

Date created : 2017-08-08

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