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Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Notre Dame HAMMER Attacker; 'It's for SYRIA'
A man with a hammer cried "it's for Syria" before bashing a police officer in the head outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Tuesday, in an attack that investigators called an act of terror.
The wounded officer fired twice at the hammer-wielding man in the square in front of the cathedral, French police told Fox News. The attacker was hospitalized; the specific conditions of both men were unclear.
The French interior minister said the suspect had been threatening several policemen and passersby at the time. Just before 5:30 p.m. local time, the operation was over.
Paris has been under high security after a string of Islamic extremist attacks in recent years. In February, a man attacked soldiers outside a shopping mall near the Louvre. He was heard yelling "Allahu Akbar" before soldiers shot and injured him. Another attacker opened fire on a police van on Paris' Champs Elysees in April, killing one and seriously wounding two others. Police shot and killed the attacker in that situation.
Paris police intially wrote on Twitter around 4:30 p.m. local time that there was a "number of police" in the area and urged people to avoid the world-famous cathedral as the incident unfolded. The French U.S. embassy alerted American citizens to "avoid the area and follow advice of authorities" following the incident.
Witnesses described a dramatic police operation in the tourist-filled area. Lawrence Langner, a 73-year-old American visiting the neighborhood just across the Seine River from the cathedral, told The Associated Press that he suddenly heard a commotion and two detonations like gunshots.
On social media, people reported that they were "trapped" in the cathedral for an incident outside. One person in the cathedral said officers instructed them to "raise their hands." French police later said they would be letting visitors out after conducting security checks.
Large numbers of police cars filled the area on the Ile de Cite island in the River Seine in the center of Paris.
Manuel Valls, the former prime minister of France, wrote on Twitter he "extended [his] full support to the police assaulted."