Published: Wed, June 07, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

French gov't: Notre Dame police attacker a doctoral student

French gov't: Notre Dame police attacker a doctoral student

French police shot and injured a man who attacked an officer with a hammer outside Paris's Notre Dame cathedral on Tuesday, as he shouted "this is for Syria".

French police stand at the scene of a shooting incident near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, June 6, 2017.

The motive for the attack was not immediately clear.

Just days ago, three attackers who said they supported ISIS allegedly plowed through pedestrians on the iconic London Bridge in London, killing around a dozen people and injuring dozens more.

The episode began when the attacker "approached a police officer, took a hammer from his backpack and hit the police officer over the head", said a police spokesman, Yves Lefebvre.

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However, several more attacks have occurred since, with the bloodiest on Bastille Day a year ago in Nice where a man drove his truck into a crowd, killing 86 people. People inside Notre Dame, the nearby Sainte-Chapelle chapel noted for its stained glass, and area bars and cafes were told to stay inside while the police operation was underway. "We are with our 2 terrified children".

"Situation under control, a policeman was wounded, the perpetrator was neutralized and sent to hospital", the Paris Police Prefecture said in a statement. The Paris counter-terrorism office has opened an investigation following the incident, the French prosecutor's office said. The attacker was hospitalized; the specific conditions of both men were unclear.

Macron's rivals portrayed him as weak on security during the presidential election campaign.

France is still under a state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city. Soldiers patrol its streets alongside police to guard tourist sites, government buildings and events.

Tourists who took refuge in the cathedral were being checked by police before being allowed to leave.

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One holidaymaker inside Notre Dame posted on Twitter: "Not the holiday experience wanted".

Soderberg said those inside the cathedral remained calm and orderly throughout despite not knowing what was happening. That followed a suicide bombing in Manchester that killed 22 people.

Paris is also reeling from an April attack at the Champs-Elysees that left a police officer dead.

The vehicle was tracked to an all-female terrorist cell, allegedly acting on the orders of Syria-based Islamic State jihadists.

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