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New video has emerged showing the moment a man wielding a hammer attacked a police patrol in front of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral.

The anti-terrorism section of Paris prosecutor office has launched an investigation into the incident.

French police shot and injured a man who struck an officer with a hammer outside Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris yesterday and claimed "this was for Syria".

On a cloudy midafternoon, the esplanade outside the cathedral was crowded with tourists and vendors.

The injured officer is recovering in the hospital, according to police.

There were unconfirmed reports that a man had been shot after attempting to attack a police officer. The French officer is also wounded, though his condition has not been made clear.

Documents found on the attacker identified him as a 40-year-old Algerian who was a doctoral student in information science at a university in the east of France. He said authorities were working to verify his identity. A series of terrorist attacks killed 130 in November 2015. Michel said the attacker was "neutralized" by police. The second official asked to remain anonymous to discuss the investigation.

It stands on the eastern end of the Ile de la Cite, built on the ruins of two earlier churches. People inside Notre Dame, the nearby Sainte-Chappelle cathedral and area bars and cafes were told to stay inside.

Following the incident, Paris police warned people to avoid the area on Twitter.

Armed police cordoned off the site and the cathedral in central Paris that is visited by millions of tourists every year was locked down during the incident.

Police warned the public to stay away from the landmark, according to Reuters.

"It was really scary".

"There were tons of people running in all directions, and we were brought inside at that time", she added. Police investigated a terrorism scare at the scene in September 2016 after they found a vehicle loaded with cooking gas canisters and bottles of diesel fuel.

The cathedral, a Gothic landmark on the Seine River, was sealed off, and visitors and worshippers were told not to leave.

The gun shots created panic among tourists that had assembled outside Notre Dame.

"The police didn't seem interested in him at the beginning", Metreau said. "I thought he was dead". "I saw emergency services, military personnel and what appeared to be police dressed in bomb squad gear".