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Louvre attack: Soldier shoots machete attacker outside Paris museum

French prime minister says incident is 'terrorist in nature' after attacker armed with machete was shot and wounded near entrance to museum
French security forces patrol in front of the Louvre museum following Friday's incident (AFP)

A French soldier shot and injured a man armed with a machete outside the Louvre museum in central Paris on Friday morning in an incident which French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said was "terrorist in nature",

Another soldier was slightly wounded in the incident which the French interior ministry said on Twitter was a "serious security event".

Michel Cadot, Paris's police chief, said the man cried out "Allahu Akbar!" and was suspected to have been trying to carry out a terrorist attack.

French daily Le Monde reported that the attacker was armed with two machetes. 

The attacker had been carrying two backpacks, although neither contained any explosives, Cadot said.

Another man behaving suspiciously was also arrested.

"We are dealing with an attack from an individual who was clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat, and whose comments lead us to believe that he wished to carry out a terrorist incident," Cadot told reporters.

"There was also a second individual who was behaving suspiciously, who has also been detained, but for now there does not appear to be a link between that individual and the attack," added Cadot.

Security forces shut down areas around the museum's iconic glass pyramid as well as the nearby Palais Royal and Musee du Louvre Metro stations.

About 250 people were being held inside the museum, police said.

One source told the Reuters news agency that the man had been trying to get into an underground shopping centre adjacent to the museum and had attacked another soldier before being shot and seriously wounded.

Cadot said five shots had been fired and the man had been seriously wounded in the stomach.

One soldier was slightly injured on the head, he said.

France has been in a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks in Paris by Islamic State (IS) militants in which 130 people died.

An attack by a truck driver on crowds celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday on 14 July also killed 86 people and injured hundreds more.

Armed soldiers have been on the streets of Paris and other cities since the state of emergency was declared.