Eiffel Tower Evacuated After Knife-Wielding Man Shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’

REUTERS/Charles Platiau

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The Eiffel Tower was evacuated shortly before closing Saturday night after a knife-wielding man tried to force his way into the Paris landmark.

The incident took place around 11:30 p.m. local time and the suspect was “very quickly overpowered and arrested,” the company that runs the tower said in a statement. The man reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is great) as he tried to make his way through the entrance, according to Radio France Internationale.

Nobody was hurt and authorities believe the suspect acted alone. The incident took place about half an hour before the monument stops admitting visitors. Police moved to evacuate the building 15 minutes before it usually closes as a cautionary measure.

RFI reports that the suspect is a French citizen born in Mauritania in 1998. He reportedly left a psychiatric hospital in July.

More than 230 people have been killed in terror attacks across France since the start of 2015, which has scared away many tourists from the capital. The Eiffel Tower is one of myriad tourist attractions that have received heightened security in recent years.

The Paris City Council approved plans to erect an 8.2 foot bulletproof glass wall around the monument by the end of the year. The wall will cost around $20 million and will replace an existing fence set up in the summer of 2016. (RELATED: Paris Erects Wall Around Eiffel Tower To Guard Against Terrorists)

“The terror threat remains high in Paris and the most vulnerable sites, led by the Eiffel Tower, must be the object of special security measures,” Deputy Mayor Jean-Francois Martins said after announcing plans for the new wall in January. “We will replace the metal grids to the north and south with glass panels which will allow Parisians and visitors a very pleasant view of the monument.”

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