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The Latest: Witnesses describe dramatic Notre Dame operation

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/06/2017
Police officers seal off the access to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 6, 2017. 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 Photo/Matthieu Alexandre) © The Associated Press Police officers seal off the access to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, Tuesday, June 6, 2017. 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 Photo/Matthieu Alexandre)

PARIS — The Latest on the security operation near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

Witnesses around Notre Dame Cathedral are describing a dramatic police operation in the tourist-filled site in central Paris.

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.

Journalist David Metreau, who said his office overlooks the square, tweeted that there were two blasts that sounded like shots, and posted a photo of a body lying seemingly inert on the ground.

Others posted photos online of what appeared to be the interior of medieval Notre Dame, one of France's most-visited monuments.

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5:25 p.m.

Paris police say an operation around Notre Dame Cathedral is over, after an attacker who targeted police with a hammer was shot and injured.

Police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert tells The Associated Press that the intervention is over. She did not provide further details.

Another police official said the attacker surged at police patrolling the scene with a hammer.

Paris police tweeted that one officer was wounded in the attack.

Hundreds of people on the esplanade in front of Notre Dame were evacuated while the operation was under way.

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5 p.m.

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.

A police spokesperson told The Associated Press that the officer used his weapon to shoot the attacker in Tuesday's incident. The spokesperson, who was not authorized to be publicly named, said the attacker was being hospitalized.

A police union official, Cedric Michel, said a man armed with a hammer went after the police officer who was patrolling on the esplanade in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. Michel said the attacker was "neutralized" by police.

It is unclear whether the attacker was acting alone.

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4:45 p.m.

Paris police say a security operation is under way near Notre Dame Cathedral and are urging passers-by to stay away from the area.

The police department tweeted about the operation on Tuesday afternoon but did not provide any details. A police official would not provide further information.

Large numbers of police cars filled the area on the Ile de Cite island in the River Seine in the center of Paris.

Paris is under high security after a string of Islamic extremist attacks in recent years.

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