Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Paris police shoot suspected hammer attacker outside Notre Dame cathedral

Paris police shoot suspected hammer attacker outside Notre Dame cathedral

Forensic experts and police officers investigate the crime scene after a man attacked officers with a hammer on the esplanade of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

Gerard Collomb, the French interior minister, told reporters that the attack occurred around 4:20 p.m. when the man approached three police officers from behind and started hitting one of them with a hammer.

Paris police say an operation around Notre Dame Cathedral is over, after an attacker who targeted police with a hammer was shot and injured.

"Paris prosecutors opened a counter-terrorism investigation soon after the attack after the hammer-wielding Algerian said he was an "ISIS soldier of caliphate", according to a probe source", reports Daily Mail UK. Large numbers of police cars filled the area on the Ile de Cite island in the Seine River in the center of Paris as authorities urged people to stay away from the area.

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France is still under the 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.

There has been strong police presence on the streets of Paris since then.

Notre Dame is one of the most-visited monuments in Europe, with an estimated 13.6 million visitors a year. She said there was no panic inside the cathedral.

And as police cornered the alleged attacker, the visitors trapped inside the sanctuary were ordered to put their hands up as investigators searched for any possible accomplices. According to police, the individual shouted that the attack was committed in retaliation for French policy in Syria and called himself a "caliphate warrior" of Daesh terror group, outlawed in Russian Federation.

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Video posted on social media showed what appeared to be the attacker lying motionless on the ground next to a police officer.

One of the officers fired two shots, wounding the suspect in the chest.

Hundreds of people were in the cathedral when the incident unfolded.

'Situation under control, one policeman injured, the assailant was neutralised and taken to hospital, ' Paris police said on Twitter. Collomb said fighting terrorism was the president's "number one" priority.

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The attack outside the cathedral came just days before crucial legislative elections, the first round of which will take place Sunday.

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