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Knife-wielding man at Eiffel Tower arrested

07 August 2017

Police in Paris have arrested a man brandishing a knife who tried to breach security at the Eiffel Tower.

The alleged terrorist, of 19 years old, was captured when violating at 23:30 local time on August 5 one of the controls for access to the facility when he shouted of "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is the biggest), and a knife was seized with which he allegedly meant to attack the guards.

The suspect's statements to investigators and his radical views led the anti-terrorist section of the prosecution to take over the investigation, a judicial source in Paris said on Sunday (Monday NZ Time). The man was arrested at the scene and no one was hurt but the tower had to be evacuated.

The legal source said the man with the knife, a Frenchman born in the West African state of Mauritania, was a patient in a psychiatric hospital who had been let out for the weekend.

The man is now under investigation for terrorism offences.

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According to the operating company of the Eiffel Tower (SETE), "the local police forces carried out a complete verification of the site and asked for its evacuation around 00:30".

Armed soldiers who are permanently stationed at the Eiffel Tower ordered him to drop his weapon, which he did without attacking anyone, the source said, asking not to be named.

France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks on Paris restaurants, a concert venue and a sports stadium that left 130 people dead.

The Eiffel Tower was lit up on Saturday night in the colors of the Paris-Saint Germain soccer club and with lights welcoming star Brazilian striker Neymar to the team.

Knife-wielding man at Eiffel Tower arrested