A French soldier on Friday shot and wounded a man armed with a knife after he tried to enter the Louvre museum in central Paris carrying a suitcase, police sources said.

One source said the man had been trying to get into the museum’s shopping mall and had attacked another soldier before being shot and seriously wounded.

b’Louvre museum in Paris | Source: Reuters’

Police said the area had been evacuated and the interior ministry said on Twitter the incident was “serious”.

Louvre officials said the museum was closed and that visitors already inside when the attack took place were being kept there.

A Reuters witness at the scene said police had cordoned off access to the museum.

b’Soon after the incident, police cordoned off the area | xc2xa0Source: Reuters’

France has been hit by a series of militant Islamist attacks

over the past two years that have killed more than 230 people and which have been claimed by the militant Islamist group Islamic State.

The most recent deadly attack took place in the southern city of Nice when a man drove a truck into a crowd on the seafront killing 86.

b’Bodies are seen on the ground on July 5, 2016 after a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday in Nice, France. | Source: Reutersxc2xa0′

Two potential attacks were thwarted in September including one by a group of women who parked a car containing gas canisters near Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral.

The country is less than three months away from a presidential election in which security and fears of terrorism are among the key issues.

(Feature image source: Reuters)