Paris (IINA) - A terror suspect, posing as an Algerian student, shouted: 'This is for Syria!' as he attacked police with a hammer outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Tuesday before being shot and wounded in a suspected terrorist incident.
The suspect was 'neutralised' in the main square outside the ancient place of worship shortly after 4.20 pm.
After he had hit an officer with a hammer, witnesses heard two shots, before the man who is in his 40s fell to the ground.
Anti-terrorist prosecutors in the French capital have already opened an inquiry into the incident, which took place in front of hundreds of tourists.
During a visit to the scene, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the man was 'believed to be acting alone' and used 'rudimentary items to attack the forces of law and order.'
Beyond the hammer, he had two kitchen knives on him and was identified via a student identity card in his pocket.
Collomb said the man 'was in the hospital,' but had no further details of his condition.
One officer was slightly injured, and the assailant was shot in the chest, according to another source. On the other side, around 900 people inside the cathedral were told to sit on wooden pews and put their hands up as police investigated the attack.
Large numbers of police vehicles meanwhile filled the area on the Ile de Cite island in the River Seine, where Notre Dame is situated, The Evening Standard Newspaper reported.
Lawrence Langner, a 73-year-old American tourist, told the AP news agency that he suddenly heard a commotion and 'two detonations,' which were believed to be the gunshots.
Others posted photos online of what appeared to be the interior of medieval Notre Dame, one of France's most-visited monuments.
France remains on high alert after a series of deadly terror attacks in recent years.
In April, traffic officer Xavier Jugele was shot dead while on duty on the Champs Elysees just days before the French presidential election.
ISIS terrorist Group claimed the killing by 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi, who was shot dead by police in a gun battle. Two other officers were injured in the attack.
A month earlier a convicted criminal with links to extremism shot dead during an attack at Paris Orly airport.
The 39-year-old, named locally as career criminal Ziyed Ben Belgacem, was killed after wrestling a soldier's gun from her and fleeing into a McDonald's. He sent a text message to his brother and father stating 'I shot the police,' shortly before he was killed.
It followed the shooting in February of a man outside the Louvre museum in the heart of Paris after he attempted to storm the historic art gallery.
On July 14 last year amid Bastille Day celebrations in the Riviera city of Nice, a large truck was driven into a festive crowd killing 86 people. The driver was shot dead. ISIS extremists claimed responsibility for the attack.
Just 12 days later two ISIS fanatics stormed into a church in Normandy and slit the throat of a priest as he was celebrating mass.
A month earlier, two French police officers were murdered in their Paris home in front of their three-year-old son.
The killings came after a massacre in the French capital in November 2015 in which ISIS militants went on the rampage murdering 130 people.
They used machine guns to slaughter revelers at the Bataclan music hall and in bars and restaurants in some of the city's most popular night spots. A suicide bomber also targeted to Stade de France stadium.
The atrocity led to the declaration of a state of emergency in France.
In January the same year, two brothers killed 11 people inside the Paris building where the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is headquartered in what ISIS claimed was retaliation for the publication of cartoons about the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).
More were killed subsequently in attacks on a kosher market in eastern Paris and on police. There were 17 victims in all, including two police officers. The attackers were killed.
Source: International Islamic News Agency