French counter-terrorism unit investigates attack on Notre Dame

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The commotion began after a man allegedly hit a Paris police officer with a hammer.

Collomb said that police found kitchen knives and a hammer on the suspect.

The Interior Minister said authorities were working to verify the card's authenticity. The attacker was injured and we are waiting for the prognostic.

But he said the police response was "immediate and effective". A police official would not provide further information. Investigators asked the public to stir away from the crime scene during investigation.

"The police man is OK, he is in a stable condition".

Police told The Associated Press that the situation near the world-famous cathedral had ended, after earlier tweeting that people should stay away from the area.

Several hundred people were held inside Notre Dame Cathedral after a man went after officers patrolling outside the Paris landmark.

On Tuesday, a 40-year-old Algerian had threatened police officers with a hammer and refused to stop.

She says the group stayed calm and orderly throughout despite not knowing what was happening, though "everyone was very quiet and very scared" when police came in to check the cathedral's pews row by row.

"We took cover in a nearby store and they left us there for about 15 minutes before fully clearing the area".

She snapped a photo of the dozens of people sitting in front of her with their hands raised as police checked the pews. The Lord's Prayer was recited in English and French, Soderberg said.

David Rahul Métreaum, a witness, told local radio station BFMTV that he could see a "man on the ground who is not moving".

"The police didn't seem interested in him at the beginning", Metreau said. "I thought he was dead".

Another officer responded by opening fire and injuring the aggressor who was later arrested and hospitalized.

It is the first attack since President Emmanuel Macron won last month's election and comes days before a parliamentary poll in which opinion surveys show Mr Macron on course to win a landslide majority.

France is still under the state of emergency imposed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, when Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in a night of carnage at venues across the city.

A police officer was killed on April 20 on Paris' Champs-Elysees avenue, another prestigious location visited by tourists.

In September, three women were arrested after police found a auto loaded with gas cylinders abandoned near Notre Dame - with France's interior ministry saying it was likely to have been an imminent attack.

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