French Police Shoot Attacker Outside Notre Dame in Paris
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - French police shot and injured a man who attacked an officer with a hammer outside Paris's Notre Dame cathedral on Tuesday, while shouting "this is for Syria".
Police sources said the officer sustained only minor neck injuries in the assault, which comes with France on high alert after militants killed seven people in London on Saturday.
The suspect later claimed to be a "soldier of the caliphate" of the ISIL (also Daesh) group, according to a source close to the investigation.
The policeman's colleague opened fire on the man, hitting him in the chest in panicked scenes around the Gothic cathedral that is one of France's most visited tourist attractions.
The man lay bleeding on the ground as police sealed off the area and searched for possible accomplices.
About an hour after the attack he was taken to hospital and police declared the situation to be under control.
French media reported panicked tourists fleeing for cover when the attack happened, after which the area in front of the cathedral was sealed off.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the man had shouted "this is for Syria" as he lunged at the officer.
He said the man had also been carrying "kitchen knives" and was found in possession of a card identifying him as an Algerian student.
Twitter user Matthew Currie Holmes said he was among the visitors locked up inside the cathedral as the incident was ongoing. "Everyone inside the church is safe. Whatever was happening happened outside," he said.
Anti-terrorist prosecutors were put in charge of the investigation.
A witness told AFP he heard someone "shout very loudly". "Then there was a crowd surge and people panicked. I heard two shots and saw a man lying on the ground in a pool of blood," he said.
Notre Dame, which is situated on the banks of the Seine river in the heart of Paris, draws 13 million visitors a year.
Over 1,000 people were inside the cathedral at the time of the attack.
Authorities in Paris asked the public to stay away from the area.