A French court on Thursday jailed for 30 years a man who attacked soldiers with machetes outside the world-famous Louvre Museum in Paris in 2017, AFP reports.
Judges issued a sentence in line with anti-terror prosecutors' demands for Egyptian citizen Abdalla El Hamahmi, 33, who did not react from behind his coronavirus mask as it was read out to him via an interpreter.
A married father who did commercial work for a Dubai-based company, Hamahmi rushed at a group of soldiers patrolling the Louvre area early on February 3, 2017, armed with a machete in each hand and wearing a T-shirt with a skull motif.
Shouting "Allahu Akbar", he wounded one soldier on the scalp before himself being severely wounded when the patrol opened fire.
Hamahmi insisted throughout the trial that he had planned to protest against French policy in Syria by destroying art masterpieces inside the Louvre Museum, which houses thousands of works including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
He claimed to have been surprised to encounter soldiers, who have patrolled central Paris since a wave of Islamist terrorist attacks that killed more than 250 in France from 2015. He said that he attacked them "as a reflex", saying he was acting "like a robot".
During the trial, Hamahmi attempted to deny the authenticity of a video in which he swore allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group. However, he later admitted that he tried to join ISIS in the Middle East before turning his sights on France.
France has been hit by a wave of Islamist attacks since 2015, the most prominent of which was the November 2015 attack in Paris, which was claimed by ISIS.
The same month, teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a Chechen man in a suburb of Paris after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a class on freedom of speech.
Earlier this month, French MPs voted overwhelmingly in favor of tightening the country's anti-terror laws, including placing curbs on the movements of convicted radicals and using algorithms to detect online extremists.