Paris Police Shoot, Wound Hammer-Wielding Assailant Outside Notre Dame

The police shot the suspect, who was hospitalized.

In the video obtained by ABC News, the attacker lunges at a policeman with a hammer.

Collomb said the man shouted, "This is for Syria". A man wielding two machetes was shot and seriously wounded by police; the head of the Paris police force said the attacker "wished to carry out a terrorist incident, "NBC News reported".

People on social media said they were escorted inside the cathedral and asked to put their arms in the air.

Authorities say police shot a man outside Notre Dame Cathedral Tuesday morning after he tried to attack an officer with a hammer.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said that the assailant on Tuesday afternoon had carried the identity card of an Algerian student.

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

Paris prosecutor's office said it had launched a counter-terrorism investigation.

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"His colleague reacted with composure and immediately fired back so that the attacked officer wouldn't be the victim of violence that could have been much worse than what he was able to endure", Collomb told reporters at the scene. French President Emmanuel Macron is planning to go to the coastal city of Nice on Bastille Day on July 14 to mark the one-year anniversary of an attack that killed 86 people and injured hundreds.

Kyle Riches, a tourist from San Francisco, was with his wife walking through the plaza outside Notre-Dame when they heard gunshots and dropped to the ground.

Others fled in panic from the sprawling esplanade outside the cathedral.

Initial reports said a person allegedly assaulted an officer with a hammer, BMFTV reported.

The French U.S. embassy also alerted American citizens in Paris to "avoid the area and follow advice of authorities". The attacker's motives were unknown.

The cathedral, a Gothic landmark on the Seine River, was sealed off, and visitors and worshippers were told not to leave.

"Everyone started fleeing from the cathedral, and police surrounded nearly immediately".

Paris remains under high security after a string of Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, including several targeting police officers and security personnel.

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