Police in Paris have shot a man who attacked an officer with a hammer outside the famed Notre-Dame cathedral. The assailant shouted "This is for Syria!" according to the French Minister of Interior. The officer suffered minor injuries. The assailant received a gun shot wound in the chest when another officer opened fire.
Hundreds of tourists and worshippers were in the historic church when the attack occurred. People fled for cover. After the building was secured, the pews of the church will filled with people taking refuge. Police commanded that they hold their hands above their heads while officers sought for suspects. Former White House Deputy National Security Adviser Nancy Soderberg shared a photo from within the church. Hundreds of people are now being allowed to leave. Nearby streets have been closed and the public asked to stay away.
The incident, which comes just days after a fatal attack in London, adds to the tension in France, which has been under a state of emergency ever since the 2015 Muslim attacks that claimed the lives of 130 people. Last year, a terrorist attack near the church was foiled by police.
The suspect in the Tuesday afternoon attack bore an identity card of an Algerian student. He carried kitchen knives, too, according to Interior Minister Gérard Collomb. So far, the assailant has not been otherwise identified. He is receiving treatment at a local hospital.
Military patrols bearing automatic weapons to beef up security are a common sight in Paris and elsewhere in France. Recent attacks in Paris have had shared characteristics: In February, a man attacked a soldier with a machete at the Louvre museum; at Paris-Orly airport in March, an attacker was killed after trying to wrest a gun from a soldier; on the Champs-Elysées in May, a gunman killed a policeman before himself being killed. None of these attacks, unlike recent incidents in London, have had random targets. Conducted by lone assailants, they were directed at specific symbols or persons representing the state.
Recent terror attacks in France
April 20, 2017 - Once investigated for threatening to kill cops, a convicted criminal opened fire at police on the Champs Elysees in Paris, killing one and wounding two. He was shot dead. ISIS claimed responsibility;
February 3, 2017 - Brandishing a machete, an Egyptian man shouted "Allahu akbar" attacked French soldiers at Paris's Louvre Museum. He was shot and wounded;
July 26, 2016 - Two Muslim terrorists cut the throat of a Catholic priest while he celebrated the Mass at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy. They were shot dead by police;
July 14, 2016 - A large truck drove over crowds of people along a quay in Nice during Bastille Day celebrations, killing 86. ISIS claimed the attack by a Tunisian-born driver, who was later shot dead by police;
June 13, 2016 -A Muslim terrorist stabbed a police officer and his female companion at their home in Magnanville, west of Paris. He declared allegiance to ISIS. Police shot him dead;
November 13, 2015 - ISIS militants set off explosives and conducted an armed assault in Paris, targeting the national soccer stadium, cafes, and the Bataclan concert hall. The co-ordinated assault leaves 130 people dead, and more than 350 wounded;
January, 7-9, 2015 - Two Muslim men assaulted the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 17 people. Another Muslim gunman killed a police officer on the following day and took hostages at a Jewish supermarket in Paris. Four hostages were killed before police shoot the gunman dead. The other two gunmen holed up before being killed by police in a siege.