Notre Dame cathedral attack - Representative image
French police shot and wounded a man who was ready to attack them 'with a hammer' outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.Sources said the officers shot at the man after he had threatened them with a hammer and refused to stop.
One officer was slightly injured and the assailant was shot in the throat. The Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened a terrorism investigation into the matter.
The attacker has been revealed to be an Algerian student in his 40s. He claimed to be a soldier of the dreaded militant group ISIS and shouted 'This is for Syria'.
On Monday, ISIS had called on its militants to carry out more attacks on Nice and Paris.
The cathedral, a Gothic landmark, was sealed off, and worshippers and visitors were locked inside.
Further, the square in front of the cathedral was evacuated. Crowds scattered outside the cathedral after hearing gunfire, according to reports.
The attack comes with France on high alert for more jihadist strikes after a weekend attack in London, where extremists used a van and knives to crush to death and kill seven people, one of them French.
Authorities in Paris asked the public to stay away from Notre-Dame, one of France's biggest tourist attractions situated on the banks of the Seine river in the heart of the capital.
French TV reported scenes of panic during the shooting, with tourists scrambling for cover. France is under a state of emergency and on its highest possible level of alert following a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.
In the last fatal attack, a policeman was shot and killed on Paris's prestigious Champs-Elysees avenue on April 20, three days before the first round of the presidential election.
Major attacks in France targeted the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in January 2015 and in November that year, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked sites around Paris including the Bataclan concert hall, killing 130 people.
Then in July 2016, a radicalised Tunisian man drove a lorry at high speed through a Bastille Day fireworks display on the Nice waterfront, massacring 86 people.Since then there have been a series of smaller attacks, often targeting security forces.
With PTI inputs