French officials: Notre Dame police attacker was doctoral student

Elias Hubbard
June 9, 2017

French media cited a source close to the investigating as saying the attacker claimed he was a "soldier of the Caliphate", presumably a reference to Islamic State.

An officer was slightly injured in the attack on Tuesday and the attacker remains in hospital after being shot by police.

Counter-terrorism agents searching the home of the man who attacked a police officer in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral have found a video recording of the assailant pledging allegiance to Islamic State, France's LCI television says.

Many suspect it to be a terrorist incident.

Immediately afterward, Notre Dame - one of Paris' most popular tourist destinations - was put on lockdown, with about 900 people inside, Eleanor reports.

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. Police shot and injured him.

"We've gone from sophisticated terrorism to terrorism where any tool will do", Collomb said. The attacker was fatally shot by police.

On Tuesday evening a group of 15 heavily armed elite police officers searched student accommodation in the suburbs of Paris, where the suspect rented a studio, a journalist said.

France is under a state of emergency and on its highest possible level of alert following a string of terror attacks that began in 2015, which have killed over 230 people.

A surveillance video obtained by Reuters showed the assailant running up to three police officers in the square outside Notre Dame and attempting to land a blow with the hammer.

Newly elected President Emmanuel Macron, portrayed by rivals as weak on security during the presidential campaign, ordered the task force to be set up last month to steer France's multiple security agencies from his Elysee Palace offices.

Among the several hundred people ordered to remain inside the cathedral was a former USA ambassador to the United Nations, Nancy Soderberg.

Paris is also reeling from an April attack at the Champs-Elysees that left a police officer dead.

In September, Notre Dame was the scene of a scare after a auto full of gas canisters was found parked nearby. That followed a suicide bombing in the northern English city of Manchester that killed 22 people.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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