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Police shoot and injure man who attacked officer near Notre Dame cathedral

Anti-terrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation into the incident.

France Notre Dame Source: Matthieu Alexandre/PA Images

FRENCH POLICE HAVE shot and injured a man who attacked an officer with a hammer outside Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral this afternoon.

Police sources told AFP that the officer sustained only minor injuries in the assault, while French newspaper Le Monde is reporting that the attacker was ‘wounded in the chest’.

It’s understood that one of the officer’s colleagues opened fire on the attacker, who is now in hospital.

Anti-terrorist prosecutors have opened a probe into the incident, but the attackers motives are still unknown.

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.

France Notre Dame Source: Matthieu Alexandre/PA Images

Around 900 people were inside the cathedral when the incident happened after 4pm today, according to a communication officer of the diocese of Paris.

A tweet circulating online showed people people inside the cathedral with their hands raised, and said that they were frisked on the way out as the exited.

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France is under a state of emergency and on its highest possible level of alert following a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.

In the last fatal attack, a policeman was shot and killed on Paris’s prestigious Champs-Elysees avenue on 20 April, three days before the first round of the presidential election.

Major attacks in France targeted the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in January 2015 and in November that year, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked sites around Paris including the Bataclan concert hall, killing 130 people.

Then in July last year, a radicalised Tunisian man drove a lorry at high speed through a Bastille Day fireworks display on the Nice waterfront, massacring 86 people.

Since then there have been a series of smaller attacks, often targeting security forces.

- With reporting from AFP and Gráinne Ní Aodha. 

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