Paris police stop man with knife trying to breach security at Eiffel Tower

French police officers patrol near the Eiffel Tower last year.
(Kamil Zihnioglu / AP)

A young French man who recently was discharged from a psychiatric hospital is under investigation for glorifying terrorism after he brandished a knife and tried to breach security at the Eiffel Tower, authorities said Sunday.

No one was hurt in the incident late Saturday, though the tower was briefly evacuated, according to a statement Sunday from the company that manages the monument. The tower reopened as usual Sunday morning.

A judicial official said the man tried to force his way into the secure zone, held out a knife and said “Allahu akbar,” meaning “God is great” in Arabic. He was quickly surrounded by security forces and surrendered, the official said. A Paris police official said no shots were fired. Both officials weren’t authorized to be publicly named.

While the man is accused of glorifying terrorism, the incident is being investigated as a common crime and not by anti-terrorism investigators, the judicial official said, because of his history of psychiatric problems and because authorities have no reason to believe he was part of a network or planning an attack.

The suspect was born in Mauritania in 1998 but has French citizenship, the official said. His name wasn’t released.


Monuments in the French capital are occasionally evacuated for security reasons, as the country remains on alert after deadly attacks since 2015.


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