It is being reported an attack has taken place in Paris outside the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France.
A man has allegedly attacked a police offer with a hammer and has since been shot by the police – although reports say the attacker was not killed.
The policeman, Sky News reports, has been taken to hospital with injuries but is believed to be alive. Paris Police’s SGP Unit confirmed one of their officers was “slightly wounded in the head by a hammer blow”.
The FCO explained there were “reports of an incident” at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris; the area has been sealed off.
It warns Britons in Paris that they should avoid the immediate area of the incident and follow any local police instructions.
Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.
Tourists inside the cathedral are being told to stay put and reportedly are in ‘lock down’, although authorities are saying the situation is now over and the attacker has been neutralised.
Police have sealed off the area and told people to stay away from the scene. The prosecutors office has said the French counter-terrorism office is to open an investigation into the incident.
A British tourist inside the cathedral spoke to Sky News saying there are a “couple of thousand” people locked inside because there was a “police incident” outside and no-one was to leave until it was safe to leave.
Gunshots have been heard by the eyewitness, who is sitting in the aisle at the world-famous landmark.
Ticia Verveer tweeted: “900 people confined in Notre-Dame after attack on police at the cathedral square #Paris #NotreDame.” Police told everybody in the cathedral to raise their arms to show they were not armed.
The US Embassy in France has informed US citizens that a security incident has occurred at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
It reads: “US citizens should avoid the area and follow advice of French authorities.
“US citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. Citizens may wish to download the Government of France smartphone application, SAIP, that will alert users to terrorist attacks or other exceptional events.”
Notre Dame attack: There are reports of a hammer attack on a police man in Paris
Notre Dame attack: The police are pictured in full force outside the cathedral
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in France
Neil Sanchez, a witness at the scene, told LBC: “We heard the two shots ring out, and then all of a sudden people were screaming all around us and running away from the scene.”
The streets surrounding Notre Dame have been cleared by police.
It comes just days after the attack in London where seven were killed. The reported attack raises concerns regarding the safety of the French capital.
The UK gov.uk website states that terrorists are “very likely” to try to carry out attacks in France – although this attack has not been named as a terrorist incident.
The terror threat has been at the same level since the Paris attacks last year.
It also states the French government has extended the national state of emergency until 15 July 2017.
Travellers are warned to be vigilant at all times especially when in tourist areas.
Immagini inquietanti dall’interno della Cattedrale di #NotreDame. In corso operazione polizia dopo sparatoria/ #Parigi pic.twitter.com/PMVVY5wJ1r
— E c’eccìs! (@Inviaggiatore) June 6, 2017
— Tonton (@TontonF_) June 6, 2017
The high number of attacks in France over the recent years has raised concerns regarding the safety of the country.
In 2015, terrorist attacks killed over 130 people across the centre of Paris.
Another terrorist attack in 2016 also took place in France after 84 people were killed after a truck drove through Nice.
It follows on from the recent knife attack inside the Louvre earlier this year which injured a French soldier.
After widespread rioting spilled into central Paris earlier this year – in February – Frank Brehany, of Holiday Travel Watch, told Express.co.uk: “Whilst the world experiences turmoil, we still have to get on with our daily lives and where possible take trips away.
“I am a regular visitor to Paris and I am struck by the visible security at ports and public spaces and whilst these may not deliver complete security, it does nonetheless offer a sense of vigilance which has to be backed up by holidaymakers following the authorities instructions and always reporting their suspicions.”
#PARIS POLICE CONFIRMS OFFICER INJURED BY A MAN WHO WAS SHOT AND INJURED BY POLICE OFFICERS #NotreDame #terrorisme
— Aziza Nait Sibaha (@AzizaNaitSibaha) June 6, 2017
Notre Dame attack: A young man took a snap of himself with other tourists on lock down inside
Travel implications for tourists
Flights and trains remain unaffected to and from the country.
There are no new reports of any cancellations or restrictions as of yet.
Frank Brehany, Consumer Director of HolidayTravelWatch, told Express.co.uk: “It is clear that the Paris Police responded with speed and the matter was resolved quickly. Tourism is important to France, as with any country, but the French State are clearly doing everything they obviously can in the towns and cities across France to protect their citizens and tourists.
“I would also recommend downloading the SAIP app, offered by the French government, which provides the latest advices, tailored to the exact location you are staying.”
Terrorism abroad remains a threat to British travellers, due to the attacks targeting westerners. Britons are warned to follow any media reports from within the country, as well as to stay aware during public holidays and any open spaces that attract foreign tourists.
Brits abroad are also warned to always keep their mobile phone on with them to be able to alert the emergency services, as it is advised to run and hide rather than to surrender or attempt to negotiate with the terrorists.
The US recently issued a terror alert for its citizens who are travelling to the UK, France or Sweden light of the attacks.