Hammer-wielding man shot after attacking Paris cop

Passers-by were advised on Tuesday to stay away from the church after reports emerged of an attack by a hammer-wielding man on police officers.

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

French Interior Minister Gérard Colomb said the attacker cried "it's for Syria".

The suspect was neutralized and transported to a hospital, French police said.

Karine Dalle, a spokeswoman for the Paris archdiocese, said in a text message that the roughly 900 people inside the cathedral were notified about the violence and were "sitting calmly" until they were permitted to leave.

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Ikken, 40, used a hammer to attack the police officer, who suffered slight injuries, and was found to be carrying kitchen knives.

(AP Photo/Matthieu Alexandre). Police officers seal off the access to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

Following the incident the Paris prosecutor's office swiftly launched a counter- terrorism investigation.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters that the man yelled "this is for Syria" when he came up behind three officers on patrol in front of the cathedral.

Notre-Dame is one of the most visited tourist sites in Paris. Some said they heard "explosions" which sounded like gunshots.

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"People were extraordinarily calm, helping those who don't speak English translate", she said, adding that she felt safe but the situation was terrifying. At least 600 people were inside at the time.

Hundreds of tourists were locked in the cathedral as the operation was ongoing. Large numbers of police cars filled the area on the Ile de Cite island in the Seine River in the center of Paris. Police also said people would be released from the cathedral after being checked. However, thanks to the high-security alert, a lot of officers were patrolling the streets and the attacker was rendered harmless quickly. The attacker's motives were unknown.

But he said the police response was "immediate and effective". Authorities in Paris said the attacker was hospitalized after the shooting.

It may be recalled that France has been in a state of emergency since the attacks by the jihadists in Paris in November 2015 which had left 130 people dead.

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