French officials: Notre Dame police attacker was doctoral student

The man with the hammer who attacked a French police officer in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday reportedly yelled "This is for Syria" before bashing the officer in the head.

A man in Paris attacked police officers with a hammer on Tuesday near Notre Dame Cathedral, and he was shot and wounded by police.

According to French Interior Minister, Gerard Collomb, the perpetrator was carrying Algerian student identification as well as a selection of kitchen knives when apprehended.

The man reportedly swung a hammer at the officer, and also had knives on him. The wounded officer fired at the unnamed suspect twice, injuring the attacker who was later hospitalized, French police confirmed to Fox News.

Pictures on social media showed people sitting in the pews with their hands in the air - apparently at the request of police.

Three major terrorist attacks in France, in January 2015, November 2015 and July 2016, claimed more than 230 lives, and the country remains under a state of emergency.

Paris is on high alert following a series of Islamic extremist attacks in recent years - with soldiers patrolling the city's streets along with police to protect tourist sites, government buildings and events.

The injured officer is recovering in the hospital, according to police.

Anti-terrorism prosecutors launched an inquiry into the attack, which comes five days before the first round of voting for France's National Assembly.

She said she was locked in a coffee shop as police dealt with the incident.

Potvin-Gorman said the assailant was "taken down immediately".

One tourist inside Notre Dame wrote on Twitter: "Not the holiday experience wanted".

Tourists who took refuge in the cathedral were being checked by police before being allowed to leave. The perpetrator was shot dead.

"The fight against terrorism is a priority for the president of the republic", he said, adding that a defence meeting would be held at the Élysée Palace on Wednesday morning.

Lawrence Langner, a 73-year-old American visiting the neighborhood just across the Seine from the cathedral, told reporters he suddenly heard a commotion and two gunshots.

  • Zachary Reyes