Paris: Police shoot man who attacked officer at Notre-Dame cathedral

Police told visitors to Notre Dame to raise their hands before exiting the church after a hammer-wielding attacker was shot by police.

Dozens of armed police sealed off the area and locked down the central Paris cathedral, which is visited by millions of tourists every year.

French TV reported scenes of panic during the latest incident, with tourists scrambling for cover.

The incident comes three days after extremists used a van and knives to crush to death and kill seven people enjoying a night out in London, one of them French. The spokesperson, who was not authorized to be publicly named, said the attacker was being hospitalized. The attacker was then shot by the officer.

"It's terrifying and we keep saying amongst ourselves 'Oh my god, had we not stopped for a croissant we would be in the centre of all of that, we could've been shot'".

More were killed subsequently in attacks on a kosher market in eastern Paris and on police.

Collomb also said French President Emannuel Macron will deliver a statement on Wednesday on how to combat terrorism.

Notre Dame, one of France's biggest attractions, is frequented by many tourists each day.

Paris prosecutors have opened a counterterrorism investigation after an unidentified assailant attacked police with a hammer outside Notre Dame Cathedral. A witness, David Rahul Metreau, told France's BFMTV that he had heard two shots about 4:20 p.m. local time, then looked down from his apartment window to see a man on the ground, surrounded by emergency personnel.

Kyle Riches, from San Francisco, was walking with his wife through the plaza outside the cathedral when they heard gunshots. "We finally did manage to get a text out to her husband so that they could at least know we were OK". Two others were wounded in the attack.

Visitors who were inside Notre-Dame during the incident are gradually being released, police said. "I thought he was dead".

The news came as Paris is still on high alert from the November 2015 terror attack at the Bataclan theater, which killed around 130 people.

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

  • Arturo Norris