Video emerges of Notre Dame 'terrorist' hammer attack

Paris police say an unidentified assailant has attacked a police officer near the Notre Dame Cathedral and the officer then shot and wounded the attacker. (AP Pho

The attack on a French police officer outside Paris's famed Notre Dame cathedral by a hammer-wielding man was an "isolated act", government spokesman Christophe Castaner said Wednesday.

Surveillance video provided Wednesday to The Associated Press showed a man lunging at officers on the plaza outside the iconic cathedral, then being shot.

The video pledging allegiance to the jihadist group was found in a police search of an apartment he was renting in Cergy outside Paris, the source in the investigation said.

In Algeria, the man's nephew Sofiane I. said it was hard to believe his relative had carried out the attack.

Documents found on the attacker identified him as an Algerian doctorate student studying the media at a university in eastern of France.

The suspect who was also armed with knives, shouted "This is for Syria" when he attacked the policeman and slightly injured him, according to the minister. "Then there was a crowd surge and people panicked".

Several terror plots have been disrupted in recent months, seeing the arrest of three women after police found a auto laden with gas cylinders was abandoned near Notre-Dame cathedral for what authorities described as an "imminent" attack.




The new center "should increase the effectiveness of protection against the strong and constant terrorist threat which France faces", the statement said, adding, that the new task force will bring together all the intelligence services and will coordinate responses to possible attacks.

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. Police shot and killed the attacker in that situation.

Journalist David Metreau, who said his office overlooks the square that fronts Notre Dame, tweeted that there were two blasts that sounded like shots.

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

"The police didn't seem interested in him at the beginning", Metreau said.

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

Soldiers patrolling its streets alongside police to protect tourist sites, government buildings and events have been the target of attempted attacks, including at Paris-Orly airport and outside Le Louvre.

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