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

Responding to reports of gunfire and mass panic at the site of the famed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, police arrived on scene to find a single male suspect attacking a police officer with a hammer, shouting "This is for Syria".

Paris police say an unidentified assailant has attacked a police officer near the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the officer then shot and wounded the attacker.

A source close to the investigation said a video in which the attacker pledged allegiance to ISIS had been found in his flat during a police raid on Tuesday evening. The attacker was then shot by the officer.

"Situation under control, one policeman injured, the assailant was neutralised and taken to hospital", Paris police said on Twitter.

Cops have warned members of the general public to stay away while a "security operation" is underway but refused to provide further details at this time.

Footage shows the moment a hammer-wielding man was shot and wounded near the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris Tuesday.

Lawrence Langner, a 73-year-old American visiting the neighbourhood just across the Seine River from the cathedral, told The Associated Press that he suddenly heard a commotion and two detonations like gunshots.

The Paris prosecutor's office immediately began a counterterrorism investigation.

It will include some 20 people representing the various security services and be operational 24 hours seven days a week.

She said police had sectioned off an area around the cathedral and down the street.

Officers later discovered the man was carrying a hammer and kitchen knives, as well as a student identity card indicating he was from Algeria.

"I really can't understand it or believe it", the nephew said in a telephone interview.

The motive of the attacker has not yet been identified. "I'm more inclined to think that he has suffered a nervous breakdown".

France is under a state of emergency after a wave of militant attacks since early 2015 that have killed more than 230 people across the country. The police officers were praised online by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who tweeted her salute to their "courage".

"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.

Always tight, security in and around the tourist mecca had been stepped up in the wake of recent Islamist attacks on Manchester and London.

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